The first trip to the doctor's office is a big deal when a woman is expecting a baby. Sometimes, the mom is going to a doctor that she has seen before but others are making a new acquaintance, all the while talking about something very exciting and strange going on inside her body.
The first appointment is where the mom gets to find out her due date and even hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. But just as importantly, it's when she gets to have a conversation with a medical professional and have all her questions answered. As exciting as the appointment can be, some moms get anxious with the number of things that she needs to ask, so this guide can help in preparing for the doctor's office.
Some of the questions are about symptoms, but a number of them are about the mom's lifestyle. And some women might not realize it, but it's a good idea to go ahead and ask some questions that involve the birth, so the mom can find another doctor if she doesn't like the answers. A few topics might seem awkward to mention, especially to a stranger. But doctors have heard it all, so we recommend that moms get the answers they need, no matter what.
Here are 15 things soon-to-be mom needs to ask the first gyno visit (and five questions too uncomfortable).
This item wasn't as big of a deal a decade or more ago, but times have changed to the point where a large percentage of women go into pregnancy while they are taking meds. These could be for a number of medical conditions, as well as for mental health concerns such as depression.
In general, doctors would prefer that moms don't take meds during pregnancy, but most of the time there are major reasons for them to be prescribed. Moms and doctors should go over the pros and cons of each med at the first appointment to make the best decision for the mom and the baby.
One of the pros of pregnancy is enjoying food, especially if the mom-to-be has strong cravings. Unfortunately, a woman doesn't have the luxury of eating anything she wants, though. At the first OB appointment, it's time to talk about those food restrictions.
The list of foods to skip can be really long and include things from soft cheeses and deli meat to sushi. It can be anxiety-filled, and some women might miss a few items on the list. So it's fair to ask the doctor about specifics, such as any confusion on how much fish is too much to consume.
Morning sickness is a part of life for pregnant women, and usually, the first doctor's appointment comes just a couple of weeks into the period when moms start to feel nausea. Some women might think they have to grin and bear it, but that's not necessarily true.
Some women experience an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, and they might not realize it until after they land in the hospital hooked up to an IV. Doctors do have some natural ways to help with morning sickness and some meds to help in extreme cases, so it's a good idea to go ahead and ask the question at the first appointment.
A big part of the first OBGYN appointment for moms-to-be includes going over their family history. It's a really important topic because any genetic anomalies in aunts, uncles and, cousins could be a clue to the possible health of the baby.
Some moms might worry a lot about genetic issues in their family, but the doctor won't panic. Instead, it will help him to figure out what kinds of tests to recommend to provide the best care for the baby. Just because a genetic issue runs in the family doesn't mean that the baby will have it, but it's good to know about the possibility so the doctor can help make sure the baby is as healthy as possible.
At the first doctor's appointment, most moms-to-be haven't experienced any big body changes, with the exception of their bra size in some cases. Some women don't start showing their pregnancy until four or five months in, especially for first-time moms, but the doctor will have different recommendations for the mom based on her starting size.
According to the Mayo Clinic, women who are healthy before getting pregnant should plan to gain 25 to 35 pounds, most of it in the third trimester. A plus-size mom should aim for a lower increase. The doctor might have some strategies that can help a mom to ensure she is as healthy in her body changes as possible.
While moms tend to focus on physical health during the first appointment, we mention this item because it's also a good idea to discuss any emotional health issues. Women can be emotional at times because of hormonal fluctuations every month with the menstrual cycle, but some can be surprised by the intense ups and downs that can happen in pregnancy.
For the most part, doctors can be reluctant to prescribe meds to help with the emotional roller coaster. But they can recommend talk therapy and other treatments, and if the feelings get overbearing, then it's worth starting a discussion again.
It's never too early to start planning for the baby's delivery; as a matter of fact, moms should bring it up in the very first doctor's appointment. It's especially important to get to the logistics, especially if the mom has a preference for which hospital where they will have their labor.
Moms will have a long time to do research and create their birth plan, but they won't have as many choices on the big things like location if they don't ask those questions early. Moms can find another doctor if they want to go to a different hospital, but that is harder the closer that she gets to her due date.
A big focus for doctors these days is a mom's exercise regime. It makes a big difference in keeping her healthy and preparing her body to be strong for labor and delivery. Doctors used to recommend that women take it easy from the first trimester, but instead, these days, it's a good idea to ask the doctor's thoughts on working out.
In general, women who work out before they get pregnant can continue to exercise at the same level during pregnancy unless a complication, like placenta previa, comes up. Moms who don't exercise should start a light to moderate routine. Until the doctor says otherwise, exercise is good for mom and baby.
Another key to having a healthy pregnancy is to take prenatal vitamins every day. It's better if the mom starts taking her daily vitamin before the first doctor's appointment, but there are a lot of options on supermarket shelves. We recommend that a woman asks her doctor about the best choice that can help the baby's development.
Research studies show that folic acid is key in avoiding a number of birth defects. And vitamin D and other minerals can be really helpful as well. The doctor likely has some insights that can make the baby and the mom even stronger and healthier, so the question is necessary for the first appointment.
We have a couple more delivery question that needs to come up early for some moms. Those that want to work with a doula during their birth need to ask the doctor about the option early, since some may not work well with an extra birth advocate.
A doula is a trained expert who can help a woman with natural birth techniques and help her through with massage and other tips. More and more hospitals allow for doulas, although most of the time the mom has to pay separately. But doctors might not be on board. If it's important to a mom, she needs to know right away how her doctor feels.
There are a lot of reasons why a woman might need a C-section, and very few of them are evident at the first doctor's appointment. But research studies have found that there are times when a certain doctor or a certain hospital increases the likelihood of having surgery.
We're not saying it's absolute — maybe the doctor takes more special cases that require different treatment. But a woman who is intent on trying for a natural delivery needs to make sure that her doctor will support her in that endeavor, at least until the mom's or baby's health is at risk.
A lot of women are aware of morning sickness, but they can be caught unawares and concerned by a number of other prenatal symptoms that can sneak up on them during the first trimester and beyond. That first doctor's appointment is the mom's opportunity to ask questions about the things that their body is going through.
One big issue in the first trimester is a kind of exhaustion that most women have never experienced before. It can be a little unsettling, but if the mom talks to the doctor about it, she will find that her pregnancy symptoms are normal.
Moms have a lot of decisions to make as parents, and the first of those decisions can come really quickly during pregnancy. That's because moms have to make the choice on certain prenatal tests within weeks of that first doctor's appointment.
Some prenatal screenings are most effective in the first trimester, including chorionic villus sampling, and others need to happen early in the second trimester. So mom has to make an appointment pretty soon. The doctor will have different recommendations based on the mom's family history and other factors, so it's important to ask at the first appointment to get things scheduled.
The first doctor's appointment is a chance for a mom to get information that can help for the entire pregnancy. So while she is getting tips for what she can eat, she also needs to ask questions about any complications that she might need to watch out for during the next nine months or so.
For example, some women are more likely to get gestational diabetes, and family history might show a tendency toward pressure problems. The doctor will be keeping an eye out for these issues, but it's always good if the mom knows what to look for as well.
Having a baby can be very expensive, so it's important for moms to start planning the finances out early. That means that a portion of the first doctor's appointment needs to include an assessment of the out-of-pocket costs and how much the insurance will cover.
Many doctor's offices and hospitals will allow parents to make payment plans, so they can start paying at the first doctor's appointment and have nine months — and even past the delivery. This can take some of the stress off of the bank account and allow parents to plan for at least some of the expenses of having a baby.
There are a number of pregnancy symptoms that can be quite embarrassing for moms, and they might feel uncomfortable asking the doctor, especially at the first appointment if they haven't met the doctor before. One is about all of the gas that moms experience.
Pregnancy hormones can have an immediate impact on the way the body processes things. For some, that means that the gas comes out from behind, but for many, it comes out in the form of burps. Women can get embarrassed by the sounds, but it is a normal symptom of pregnancy and the doctor has heard it all before.
Anything that involves the underpants can be awkward for moms to talk about, even to a doctor. But moms have a lot going on that they might have never had before. The sights and smells can be different than before the pregnancy — and it can change a lot by the day or the week.
It might be uncomfortable to talk about discharge, but moms need to know that there can be a signal that something is wrong. Thicker—but clear—discharge is normal, but color changes are not. The smell can get intense, but most of the time it's okay. The doctor's answer might allay fears, if the mom can get up the nerve to ask.
For many women, early pregnancy can be hard on their bathroom schedule. The hormones that surge at the very beginning can slow a woman's digestion, and that means that the food won't make its way out as quickly as it did before.
Constipation can be painful, so it's definitely appropriate to bring it up with the doctor, even though a woman might feel uncomfortable about it. There might be some natural tips the doctor can share that can help get things moving, so to speak. The doctor might be reluctant to try meds at that point in the pregnancy, but water and exercise can go a long way to help.
On the flip side, while things aren't going out so quickly in one case, new moms experience having to rush to the bathroom to go number one That's expected at the end of the pregnancy when the baby is sitting on the bladder, but it can happen in just a matter of weeks.
Pregnancy hormones trigger a frequent urge to urinate, and that can leave women rushing to the toilet even before they find out that they are pregnant. Doctors don't have any meds or anything to help, but they can assure a mom that things are okay and maybe recommend wearing a pad for a while.
Special moments between men and women are what lead to pregnancy, yet some soon-to-be parents get a little worried about continuing with the magic once the baby is on board. It's an uncomfortable topic, but it's okay to ask the doctor about any worries for the bedroom.
Some dads worry that the baby can see and feel things, but doctors say that it doesn't impact them at all. Parents might need some tips about positions that are more comfortable later on in the pregnancy, but knowing that it's safe to continue the relationship from the beginning can be important for a couple to keep their own romantic bond as they become parents.