“Do you have questions?” I remember thinking a minute, before replying with a simple, “No, I don’t think so.” Honestly, I was still a little overwhelmed with the confirmation that I was in fact pregnant, and I had no idea what other questions to ask during that first prenatal visit.
Later, I realized that I didn’t have questions at that time because at that point, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. And it’s pretty hard to have questions when you really don’t even know where to begin or what to ask.
Your first prenatal visit is a pretty important one, and there’s a lot of questions you should ask. But what if you don’t know what to ask?
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor At Your First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit is a pretty important one, and typically the longest one. It’s also the one that provides the most time to ask all your pressing questions.
While you can and should ask any questions you have at any visit, your first visit is scheduled with the intention of having plenty of time to answer questions. For that reason, it’s the best time to get as many questions answered as possible.
However, your first pregnancy appointment can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. You’ll also be given a ton of information in the form of paper printouts and magazines. Honestly, it’s a lot to process and sometimes the amount of information being thrown your way can be overwhelming in itself.
I don’t think I had a single question during my first pregnancy appointment with Elijah. In retrospect, there were questions I could have and probably should have asked.
And I know now that one of the best things you can do to improve your prenatal health is to ask questions, stay informed, and take an active part in your health.
Before you head to your first prenatal visit, here are some important questions you should consider asking. Even if you don’t specifically ask, make sure that by the time you leave, you’ve gotten answers to all of these questions.
Financial Questions To Ask
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my first appointment was failing to ask about financials.
Before you make your appointment, be sure to check to make sure the doctor you’ll be seeing takes your insurance. But other than that, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that there were other finance questions I should be asking.
Is all blood work and tests covered by my insurance?
Make sure any blood work and tests, especially newer and optional ones, are covered by your insurance! We were offered the opportunity to have two specific tests done, one to test for potential genetic problems and the other to find out the gender early.
The way it was presented, it didn’t even occur to me that they weren’t normal tests that everyone got. And I definitely didn’t think that they wouldn’t be covered by my insurance. Turns out, they weren’t, and it ended up costing $300 out-of-pocket and didn’t even count toward my deductible. Lesson learned.
If you’re tight on money like we were, make sure your doctor knows that everything needs to be covered by insurance, and that you’d like to do things as inexpensively as possible.
What is the average cost of delivery?
I know, delivery is a long way off from your first prenatal visit—but it’s worth asking questions about the average cost of delivery. You may need to meet with the financial adviser of whatever hospital or birthing center you plan to use.
But having a general idea of what the cost will be, assuming there are no complications, can help you plan your budget and start saving.
Are there programs that can help me financially during my pregnancy?
On that same note, don’t be afraid to ask if there are any programs that can give you assistance while you’re pregnant.
If you have low income, you may qualify for medicaid or other state health programs. If you qualify for WIC, you can potentially get help with groceries during pregnancy, and even after if you breastfeed your baby.
Pregnancy Health Questions To Ask During First Prenatal Visit
While financial questions are important and shouldn’t be forgetting, be sure to leave plenty of time to discuss your prenatal health. Obviously, ask about anything you feel you don’t fully understand.
And don’t be afraid to ask if things are truly necessary, or why they are necessary, if you don’t want to do a certain test or procedure. Remember, true medical consent involves being informed and understanding the risks and benefits of any given test or procedure.
And of course, be aware that you can decline anything you don’t want to do, for any reason. With that in mind, here are some things you should make a point to ask about during your first prenatal visit.
What can I do about morning sickness?
Ah, morning sickness. While some lucky women make it through pregnancy with little to no morning sickness, many don’t.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, ask your doctor for some ideas on what you can do to prevent or at least minimize it.
Asking your doctor is especially important if you have extreme morning sickness. Having consistent, extreme nausea can potentially cause you to not gain weight, or even lose weight. And if it continues on past the first trimester, this can become a serious problem.
What can I do about any other symptoms I am having?
Unfortunately, a wide variety of first trimester symptoms can begin early on in your pregnancy.
While the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness is often at the top of new moms’ minds, don’t forget to ask about any others you may be experiencing.
While it’s true that pregnancy can be an uncomfortable nine months, you don’t have to suffer through it any more than necessary. I made the mistake of just “sucking up and dealing with it” instead of actively looking for ways to relieve any discomfort.
In retrospect, I probably would have had a much more pleasant time and enjoyed it more if I had asked about and researched remedies for my symptoms.
What exercises are okay for me?
One of the top questions you should ask during your first prenatal visit is what exercises you can do during pregnancy. Staying fit and healthy is important during pregnancy. Ultimately it keeps you in better health, and can even help you have an easier labor and deliver.
On the other hand, you have to be careful to not overdo it. Any exercises that put a lot of strain on your stomach, or increase your risk of falling are usually big no-no’s. Depending on whether or not you are high risk, or have complications, many exercises may be off the table.
For that reason, make sure to ask your doctor what exercises are considered safe for you to do.
What medications can I take?
It may surprise you as a first time mom, but many medications are harmful to your baby while you are pregnant. There’s actually a pretty small list of medications that are safe during pregnancy.
Because so many can be harmful to your baby, it’s important to immediately ask your doctor about any medications you are currently taking.
Be sure to always follow your doctor’s guidelines. And never take one that your doctor has not approved for you!
What should I do if I get sick?
On that note, what do you do if you get sick? I got sick once during the latter half of my pregnancy. While it was just a cold, it was pretty miserable. Since many over the counter cold medicines are off limits for pregnant women, it can be rough to get through sickness.
Be sure to ask what you should do if you do get sick. Your doctor will likely give you a list of approved medicine that you can take. This list may also include safe natural remedies that can be used to help with sickness.
What should I do if I have spotting, cramping, or bleeding?
If you only ask one question, let it be this one! Spotting, cramping, and bleeding can be normal during pregnancy, but it can also be a sign of dangerous problems.
For instance, it’s not uncommon to have a little light spotting after a cervical check. However, spotting or bleeding can also be an early sign of miscarriage.
The point is, ask your doctor what you should do if you experience any one of these three things. And of course, if you are ever in doubt, always call and talk to your doctor.
How much weight should I be gaining?
Depending on many factors, pregnant women generally gain anywhere from 20-30 pounds during pregnancy. what is considered a healthy weight gain will vary a bit from person to person.
Part of it depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Other factors are just genetic and unavoidable. For example, some women typically put on more weight, while others stay pretty small.
There’s a lot of factors that go into how much weight you should be gaining. So while 20-30 pounds is considered the norm, it’s worth asking your doctor how much you should expect to gain.
What should I look for in a prenatal vitamin?
Unless you are high risk or have a pregnancy complication, it’s likely perfectly safe for you to take an over the counter prenatal vitamin.
Of course, your doctor may also prescribe you one, and you are certainly free to take that if you wish—though it will likely be more expensive than an over the counter vitamin.
If you plan to take an over the counter vitamin, you might ask your doctor to recommend one. Or, you could ask for an idea of what you should look for.
Regardless of which vitamin you take, it’s important to take one regularly. In fact, it’s one of the first things you should do after finding out your pregnant.
What foods should I avoid?
Asking what foods to avoid is one of the most important questions you should ask at your first prenatal visit. One of the basics of prenatal nutrition is to avoid any food or drink that could potentially harm your baby. But you can’t do that if you don’t know what they are!
This is also a great time to ask about a healthy pregnancy diet that supports you and your baby’s nutritional needs.
If you’re looking for some healthy meals and snacks that support your prenatal health, I highly recommend the cookbook Eating for Pregnancy.
It has tons recipes for healthy pregnancy meals and snacks that are designed to support you through each month of your pregnancy.
I also love that Eating for Pregnancy includes a lot of important education on pregnancy nutrition!
How much weight is safe for me to lift?
While many of us think about how much weight we should be gaining, few of us think about lifting weight. That’s right—it can be dangerous to lift a lot of weight while you are expecting.
This is because lifting heavy weights can put too much strain on your stomach. It also increases the risk of injuring yourself. And you definitely do not want to be injuring yourself while you are pregnant!
Take a minute to ask your doctor how much weight is safe for you to lift. Also ask for practical examples to help you see what might need to change. For example, can you still pick up your other child (if you have one)?
While there’s a lot of time between your first prenatal visit and your delivery, there’s a few delivery related questions you should ask. While a lot of your birth plan will be preferences, there are a few things that may be deal breakers.
If any of the answers to these questions don’t sit well with you, you may need to find a new doctor. Don’t get me wrong—I believe in being flexible. But there’s also some things you need to know from the start so you can make the best decisions regarding your prenatal care.
Where will baby be delivered?
Wherever baby will be delivered, you want to make sure it’s where you’re most comfortable.
For some new moms, that may mean a home birth, in which case you will likely need a midwife to oversee your prenatal care. For others, a hospital birth is most comfortable due to the close availability of medical assistance if needed.
You also want to make sure that wherever you deliver will be covered by your insurance. This is especially important if you plan to have a hospital birth.
Who will deliver the baby?
Will your doctor be the one to delivery baby? Do other doctors at the practice share the responsibility of delivering babies?
Often times, one or two doctors are on call at a time to deliver babies. If your doctor is not on call and unable to come in, you may have your baby delivered by someone other than your personal doctor.
Do the other on call doctors have the same views as your doctor?
If there’s a chance of another doctor or midwife delivering your baby, it’s a good idea to find out if they share the same views as your own doctor. For example, are they all committed to avoiding unnecessary C-sections or episiotimies?
It’s important to have your medical team all on the same page so that you can have as positive a birth experience as possible.
And last, but not least, be sure to ask the following two questions.
What should I expect at my next appointment?
I wish I had asked this question at all of my appointments. A lot of times, you’re given the information for the current appointment and sent on your merry way with an appointment for the next visit. But how many of us leave knowing what to expect at the next visit?
Knowing what to expect at your next appointment helps to keep you informed. A lot of times, tests and procedures are sprung on us without any warning. And often, we go along with it because we don’t know any better, because we haven’t been given the time to have true informed consent.
When you know what’s coming at the next visit, you have time to research. You may want to follow your doctor’s recommendation, or you may want to explore different options.
Who do I call if I have questions?
Be sure to leave your appointment knowing how to get answers to any questions you think of after you leave.
Inevitably, I always thought of questions well after we had left the office. Find out who to call when those questions arise, or how to contact your doctor when needed.
Wrapping Up Questions For Your First Prenatal Visit
Have you been to your first prenatal visit yet? If you have and didn’t ask these important questions, don’t hesitate to do so at the next appointment!
Drop a comment below and let me know what questions you have for your doctor at your first prenatal visit!