10 things to ask at your first prenatal appointment |Central AR Motherhood Photographer

January 15, 2024

Hey there mama-to-be! So, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information (or lack thereof) about pregnancy and what to expect. But don’t worry, I’ve got you! As a Mom of four I have come up with 10 things to ask your doctor at your first appointment that will help you feel more prepared and in control.

What over-the-counter medications are safe?

It’s probable that you’ll require non-prescription medication at some stage of your pregnancy, be it for relieving a headache or managing severe heartburn. Your healthcare provider should furnish you with a list of suggested over-the-counter (OTC) medications that are deemed safe.

What about prescription meds that I might take?

It’s crucial to emphasize that discontinuing any medication should only be done after consulting your doctor. Ideally, schedule a pre-pregnancy appointment with your healthcare provider to thoroughly review your existing medical conditions and medications. Together, you can assess whether it’s appropriate to maintain your current medication, transition to an alternative, or explore a different treatment approach.

How much weight should I gain?

The weight gain during pregnancy is often determined by your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), a calculation based on your weight and height. Your healthcare provider will typically provide a trimester-specific range for weight gain and monitor your progress at each appointment.

Here’s a standard breakdown of weight gain based on BMI:

  • A BMI of less than 18.5: 28 to 40 pounds
  • A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9: 25 to 35 pounds
  • A BMI between 25 and 29.9: 15 to 25 pounds
  • A BMI greater than 30: 11 to 20 pounds

Nevertheless, each pregnancy is unique, and this extends to the aspect of weight gain during pregnancy. If you have any inquiries, feel free to engage in a discussion with your healthcare provider. They will assist you in devising a plan to ensure that you achieve a healthy and appropriate amount of weight gain.

What exercise is okay during pregnancy?

Maintaining physical activity during pregnancy contributes to the well-being of both you and your baby, alleviating symptoms ranging from water retention to anxiety. Fortunately, numerous fitness activities are considered safe, including walking, swimming, yoga, and strength training. If you were a regular participant in a specific class before pregnancy, it’s likely acceptable to continue, but it’s crucial to consult with your doctor first.

In general, exercise requires a bit of extra caution during pregnancy. It’s advisable to avoid strenuous activities that may lead to falls, given the altered sense of balance.

What should I eat and avoid eating?

An optimal pregnancy diet comprises nutritious whole foods, emphasizing an abundance of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Your healthcare provider is likely to suggest a prenatal vitamin to guarantee adequate intake of essential nutrients like calcium and folic acid. In terms of what to avoid, it’s advisable to steer clear of raw fish, soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk or juice, and certain types of fish due to high mercury levels.

How long can I work when I’m pregnant?

Depending on the nature of your job, you can probably continue working until delivery. However, if your job involves significant physical exertion or if there are pregnancy complications, your healthcare provider may suggest certain restrictions to ensure both your safety and your baby’s.

Equally important is addressing any emotional stressors at work. Discuss these concerns with your doctor, who can assist in evaluating whether it’s advisable to avoid such stressors or explore alternative coping mechanisms.

What pregnancy symptoms are normal, and what’s an emergency?

The answer to this question can vary, depending on how far along you are.

First trimester

In the first trimester, some nausea, occasional vomiting, fatigue and breast tenderness are common. A small amount of vaginal spotting can also be normal. That said, red-flag symptoms you should watch out for include an inability to keep any food or liquids down, heavy vaginal bleeding or cramping, or severe abdominal pain. If you experience any of those symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Can we discuss my birth plan?

Although not essential, creating a birth plan can be a helpful tool. While you might not strictly adhere to every detail on the big day, many women choose to make one to acquaint themselves with the labor and delivery process and ensure that everyone involved is aware of their personal preferences.

Before labor, it’s advisable to review your birth plan with your doctor. This allows for a discussion about expectations, particularly crucial if you have a high-risk pregnancy, as it may entail more restrictions during birth to prioritize safety. It’s also an opportunity to address any concerns both you and your doctor may have regarding your birthing experience.

What should I expect during my labor and delivery?

The experience of your labor and delivery can significantly differ depending on the chosen delivery setting—be it a hospital, birthing center, or home. Throughout the process, a nurse or healthcare provider will periodically conduct cervical exams to assess dilation and effacement. Interventions for the well-being of both you and your baby, such as IV and electronic fetal monitoring, may be recommended and should be explained to you as deemed necessary.

Engaging in discussions beforehand allows you to explore and understand pain management options, including the use of an epidural. This preparation enables you to plan for the various available options during different stages of labor.

Who will deliver my baby?

The individual responsible for delivering your baby is determined by your physician’s practice. Some practices have multiple on-call OB/GYNs, and you’ll be attended to by the available practitioner when you go into labor. In contrast, other practices ensure that you are consistently with your own doctor throughout the process. It’s important to inquire about the delivery process in your specific case to ensure you are comfortable with the arrangements on the day of delivery.

What support can I get if I want to breastfeed?

Breastfeeding can pose challenges, making it a crucial topic for women considering it. Several practices promote and assist breastfeeding mothers and babies, such as promoting skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery and encouraging rooming in with the baby 24 hours a day.

Additionally, it’s important to discuss lactation consultants and breast pumps with your doctor. These are now guaranteed to new moms under the Affordable Care Act, although access may vary based on factors like who, when, and where. Other support services are also available during your hospital stay and after you return home.

In essence, don’t hesitate to reach out to your practitioner if you have any uncertainties. They understand that this is likely a new experience for you and can provide guidance on what’s considered normal and what’s not.

So, there you have it, mama. You’re armed with some new information that will hopefully help you feel more confident and excited about your pregnancy. 

If you’re still looking for a Central Arkansas Birth and Newborn Photographer, click here to see my availability.

I have a free downloadable checklist to take with you to your first appointment! Click here to download the checklist!


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