21 Questions To Ask Your OB-GYN at Your First Prenatal Visit - Baby Chick
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21 Questions To Ask Your OB-GYN at Your First Prenatal Visit

Learn about topics to cover with your OB-GYN, such as prenatal care, screening and testing, nutrition and exercise, and labor and delivery.

Updated May 1, 2024

by Kirsten White

Pediatric Nurse, BSN, RN

Medically reviewed by Stephanie Sublett

Board-Certified OB/GYN, FACOG, IBCLC
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Early pregnancy is an exciting and anxious time. While awaiting your first prenatal visit, your mind may race with questions. Or you might wonder what you should be asking! Here, we’ve compiled a list of 21 questions to ask at your first prenatal appointment. While some of these may not directly apply to you, it’s good to be prepared for your OB appointment. Reading these example questions will get your wheels turning. Then, you can always tailor your questions to your priorities.

21 Questions To Ask at Your First Prenatal Visit

With a new pregnancy, it can be overwhelming to know where to start with gathering information. Read through the questions below to get ideas and decide which questions you’d like to ask your OB-GYN at your first prenatal visit:

1. What Lifestyle Changes Should I Make Now That I’m Pregnant?

Some pregnancy lifestyle changes are well-known, such as avoiding alcohol.11 But be sure to review with your provider any modifications you may need to make to your current medications, diet, and exercise routine. In addition, if you’re exposed to chemicals or toxins at work (such as in a nail or hair salon), or your job requires a lot of manual labor, consider asking about the safety of these settings and whether you need to modify your career exposures and responsibilities during pregnancy.5

2. Is There a Specific Prenatal Vitamin You Recommend or Ingredients I Should Prioritize or Avoid?

Browsing the vitamin aisle can be overwhelming. During pregnancy, your body needs folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid is critical to prevent neural tube defects. You should start taking a prenatal vitamin while you’re trying to conceive. So, be sure to ask your provider for their recommendations. You may feel reassured to know that they’re up to date on the current market offerings.9

3. Have You Reviewed My Medical, Gestational, and Family History? Based on This Information, Is There Anything Specific to My Situation I Should Be Aware of During Pregnancy?

You want to ensure your provider is well-versed in your medical history so they can provide adequate and comprehensive care for you during your pregnancy. A provider who reviews your chart prior to your appointment also demonstrates preparedness and forward thinking. Both of these are qualities that increase my trust in a provider. For instance, due to a family history of chromosomal conditions, I had additional genetic testing during my first pregnancy. I felt reassured knowing my provider had reviewed my records before my appointment and was well-versed in the additional care I may require.

4. How Can I Contact You When I Have Urgent Concerns?

This is another great question to ask at your first prenatal appointment so you can get an understanding of your provider’s availability to you. Pregnancy can be unpredictable, and strange symptoms can strike during off-hours. Be sure that your provider is reachable at any time and that you know how to contact them in case of urgent concerns.

5. What Pregnancy Symptoms Can I Expect, and How Will You Help Me Manage Them?

You want to know that your provider cares about your experience in pregnancy. At your first prenatal visit, you may be early in your first trimester and not yet know what lies ahead for you. Your provider should be able to warn you of potential symptoms (such as fatigue, joint pain, and morning sickness) and how they would help you manage them.6

6. What Resources Do You Recommend for Physical and Emotional Support During Pregnancy?

It’s easy to get lost in a world of pregnancy books, not to mention so many online courses available these days. Sometimes, word of mouth is the best recommendation you could ask for, so see if they suggest any particular readings. Your provider may also be able to connect you with support groups for pregnancy or groups with other women who are due around the same time. One of my favorite OB-GYNs at my practice referred me to a chiropractor she’d seen during pregnancy. I was so grateful for the personal recommendation!

7. Who (And How Many People) Can Attend My Appointments and Tests?

You may want or need to bring a partner, older children, or other guests to your prenatal appointments, scans, and tests. During my pregnancy with my second daughter, our toddler wasn’t allowed to attend. We had to get a babysitter for my husband to accompany me to ultrasounds—an added expense of pregnancy! Check with your provider about their policies, as they may make a big difference in your planning and comfort level.

8. How Long Are My Appointments, and Will I Have the Opportunity To Ask Questions at Each One?

A young pregnant woman sit up on an exam table in her doctors office during a routine prenatal check-up. She wearing a medical gown and her doctor is seated across from her as the two talk.

With each of my pregnancies, I saw a practice mixed with OB-GYNs and midwives. I never felt rushed at my prenatal appointments and always felt like I was receiving genuine care and attention. However, I’ve heard of many women switching to the care of midwives because their appointments are sometimes longer and they feel more attended to and cared for. With this question, try to get a sense of whether your provider seems rushed or patient and calm.

9. How Often Will I Be Seen During Pregnancy?

At your first prenatal visit, you can also ask how frequently you can expect to be seen. Asking this question may give you some insight into the office’s flexibility, hours, organization, and accommodation. Personally, I liked mapping out my appointments well in advance so I could anticipate working my prenatal appointment schedule around holidays and days off work.

10. What Will Happen at Each OB Appointment?

I liked knowing what to expect at each appointment, from the urine sample collection to the weight, blood pressure reading, and Doppler heartbeat. Familiarity with the process helped me feel comfortable and relaxed. Be sure to ask this at your first prenatal visit so you understand what to expect at your routine appointments!

11. What Prenatal Tests and Screenings Do You Recommend or Routinely Perform?

OB-GYNs vary in what’s considered “routine.” Throughout my first pregnancy, my provider checked my urine at every appointment. During my second pregnancy at the same practice, they’d discontinued this routine. In addition, genetic testing is standard in some practices and not others. It can also depend on your age. If these tests are something you’re interested in (or something you’d like to opt out of), make sure your provider is on board.

12. Do You Support Women Who’d Like To Use a Glucose Drink Alternative for the Gestational Diabetes Test?

One test typically performed during pregnancy is the glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes.7 Some women have concerns about questionably toxic ingredients and additives in the standard sugary beverage used for this test.8,12 If this concerns you, be sure your provider will allow you to use an alternative, such as The Fresh Test.

13. What Symptoms of Pregnancy Complications Should I Look Out For?

Pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia have specific and unique signs that, if caught early, can spur intervention and better outcomes for mother and baby.1,2 As a newly pregnant mother, make sure you know the warning signs of pregnancy concerns and when you should call your provider to be seen at an additional appointment or the hospital.

14. Will I See You Every Visit, or Will I Rotate Through Different Providers?

My OB-GYN practice was very large, and I saw many different doctors and midwives throughout my pregnancies. They hoped I would meet most of the providers by the time I delivered. However, every practice operates a bit differently, and you may like seeing different providers or getting very familiar and comfortable with just one.

15. Will You Be There When I Deliver?

Pregnant young woman pushes to give birth in hospital, obstetrician doctor assisting

Similar to the previous question, you’ll also want to know who’ll be there when you deliver. The reason my OB-GYN’s practice introduced me to many different providers was to make sure I’d be familiar with whoever was on call when I went into labor. Some smaller practices operate differently, though; maybe your doctor only has a few patients at a time and is on call for all deliveries. Be sure you understand which providers you’ll actually be working with during labor and birth.

16.  Which Hospital(s) Do You Deliver At?

Most doctors only have privileges or contracts with certain hospitals. Make sure your chosen provider and practice deliver at the hospital you’d like to attend. Pay attention to their proximity to your home or work, too, as you never know if you’ll need to arrive at the hospital very quickly in labor!

17. Do You Accept My Insurance, and Can You Help Me Understand My Coverage for Prenatal Appointments, Testing, and Birth?

During my second pregnancy, my provider suddenly stopped accepting my health insurance. Fortunately, I was far enough along in my pregnancy that I was grandfathered into their coverage for birth. So, ensure that your chosen provider accepts your insurance. Take this opportunity to ask your provider any other questions about financial coverage. They may be able to answer questions such as, “What financial assistance resources might be available to me and my baby during the pregnancy and postpartum period, and can you help me qualify?” 10

18. What’s Your Philosophy or Approach to Birth?

If you have specific goals for your birth experience, ensure your OB-GYN will support those goals. If your aim is simply “healthy mom, healthy baby,” ensure that your provider and facility are equipped to handle any pregnancy and birth situations or complications that may arise. Meanwhile, if you’re trying to achieve an unmedicated, physiologic birth, try to get a sense of whether your doctor will push interventions you don’t want. You could ask if they have other patients who have wanted and achieved unmedicated births and how the provider has supported these goals. You could also ask what nonmedicinal coping tools will be available to you in the birth setting.

Similarly, be sure to ask what pain management options will be available to you during labor. Knowing your options will allow you to research which interventions you may or may not want.

19. Who (And How Many People) Will You Allow To Be Present at My Birth?

Think about who you might want to be present while you’re giving birth. You probably want your partner, but you may also want a doula, a photographer, or other birth attendants as well. Some hospitals restrict the number of people in the room at a time or the number of times you can change out your approved visitor list. If you know who you may want at your side, make sure the hospital will permit this.

20. What Are Your Rates of C-Section and Episiotomy?

You want to ensure your provider makes safe and evidence-based decisions for their patients. These interventions shouldn’t be routine, and if their rates are high, you may feel pressured into these procedures during your own birth. The national C-section rate in the United States in 2022 was 32.1%, so you may want to look for a provider at or below that.3 Similarly, you may want to prioritize a provider or hospital with an episiotomy rate below 5% to be below the national average and the standard set by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit patient safety organization.4

21. Will You Allow My Pregnancy To Reach 42 Weeks’ Gestation if We Get to That Point?

If you’d rather avoid being induced for going past your due date, ask what your OB-GYN’s policy is on overdue babies. As desperate as you may be to meet your baby, you may also be eager to go into labor naturally. If this is important to you, make sure you’re working with a provider who will allow you to remain pregnant until your baby comes on its own (unless there’s a medical indication for delivery!).

When identifying questions for your first prenatal visit, consider your pregnancy and delivery priorities. You can filter through this list and determine which questions are important to you. You can also save some questions for later appointments, but that first prenatal visit is an opportunity to establish a strong foundation. Work with your OB-GYN to collaborate on your ideal prenatal experience. Coming prepared with questions will show your provider that you’re knowledgeable and give you confidence that they align with your values. You can download these questions below!

Questions to Ask Your OBGYN at Your First Prenatal Appointment

Download Printable Here

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Kirsten White Pediatric Nurse, BSN, RN
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Kirsten White earned her nursing degree from Villanova University. Since graduating, she has worked with various pediatric populations as a nurse at Johns Hopkins and is currently working in school… Read more

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