Heading into uncharted territory is nerve-wracking, and sitting half-naked at your OBGYN appointment is no exception. So to help new mommies keep their thoughts in order, here are some questions to be sure to ask your OBGYN when you meet with them for the first time.
When should I call you?
Obstetricians will generally tell you to call them if you experience any bleeding, persistent pain, or watery discharge from the vagina. This is an excellent opportunity to know if they’re going to be attentive to you or if they will just write you off as a “new mom.” If you don’t get a good feeling from their response, look somewhere else.
Am I at increased risk for any diseases?
Asking this early on helps understand future screenings you may have. You should also ask about what screenings you will have or have the option to have. Then you can decide if you will do all of the screenings available or if you will pick and choose. You might also want to ask for a price on these just in case they are not covered by insurance.
What over-the-counter meds are okay? What should I avoid?
Inform your OBGYN of any medications or supplements you currently take daily. Ask about over-the-counter pain medications they recommend and the dosage. Also, you should bring up anything homeopathic to them so they understand what you are ingesting or using topically.
What symptoms should I expect? How can I manage them?
Getting an idea of what pregnancy symptoms your doctor feels are normal is going to be helpful later on when deciding when to call. The internet has a lot of varying opinions on what’s “normal” and “not normal,” so it’s better to avoid Dr. Google. Stick with your doctor’s guidelines and call if you have concerns.
What is your on-call schedule like? When are your vacations?
It’s always good to know if your due date happens to conflict with your obstetrician’s Christmas break or spring vacation. That way, you can prepare to deliver with a doctor you may not know as well. You will most likely see at least one other doctor during your prenatal visits precisely for that reason.
Prenatal/Childbirth Education Classes
Ask about childbirth education and what classes your OBGYN recommends you should take. Sometimes nothing is provided, and you have to go elsewhere. Still, there might be something provided for you as a patient, and attending where you will be delivering is ideal.
Inductions, C-sections, Epidurals, Episiotomies, Vacuum, Forceps usage, IVs and EFMs, and Delayed cord clamping? What are my options?
Finding out how your doctor operates during delivery is essential to your birth plan. You want to know your doctor’s stance on these procedures so you can plan accordingly and know what to expect when the time comes to deliver.
Ultrasound Schedule and Baby’s Heartbeat
The most exciting appointments in the pregnancy journey are ultrasound appointments and heartbeat appointments. Your first few appointments may not be either of these, and even though it is disappointing, it’s okay. Don’t freak out, they will check soon!
The prenatal appointments can be intimidating and sometimes confusing if you aren’t clear on what your OBGYN means when discussing future appointments or tests. Do not be intimidated by this; just ask the questions and do not leave until you feel comfortable with the answers. The medical world for non-medical people (ahem, most of us) can feel overwhelming and confusing, but this is just the beginning of learning how to be an advocate for yourself and your new baby. No question is stupid, so speak up and be confident!