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25 Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment and The Best Way to Be Prepared

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How do I prepare for my first prenatal appointment?

So, you found out you’re pregnant, and you’re wondering “what do I do now?”

The most important thing to do after you get that positive pregnancy test is to make your first prenatal appointment with your OBGYN.

Of course, you can always start your pregnancy journey by visiting your family doctor first, especially if you’re concerned you may have received a false positive. And if you don’t have an OBGYN, they can give you a good recommendation.

After that, it’s just waiting for that first appointment. So the best way to prepare is by gathering a list of questions to ask at first prenatal appointment.

I’m sure by that time rolls around you’re going to have a lot of questions, so it’s a good idea to start writing down any questions you may have until then.

And check out some of the common questions women ask during their first prenatal appointment below.

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woman holding a pregnancy test
Photo by SHVETS production

What should I do before my first prenatal appointment?

It’s a good idea to gather your medical history before your first prenatal appointment. Make sure you have your information and each of your parents’ information. You’ll also want to gather your partner’s medical history and his parents’ information as well.

You also want to consider the health issues of any other close family member, so your health care team can be more prepared of any risk factors to you or your baby.

You should also start taking a prenatal supplement that includes folic acid and DHA to support a healthy pregnancy.

Write down any questions you may have for your health care team. Use the list below as a starting point and add anything that is related to your individual needs.

As a side note, some women are worried about shaving (down there) for their prenatal appointments and even before giving birth. Don’t be. Your doctor is a medical professional and is not even thinking about it. They are more worried about your overall health and the health of your baby. (Of course, it’s entirely up to you.)

woman holding a sonogram picture
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

What is done at a first prenatal visit?

Your first prenatal visit can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know what’s going to happen. Here’s a few things you can expect to happen:

  • Complete physical exam – including height and weight, breast exam and pelvic exam, and pap smear
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Ultrasound – determines estimated due date, hear baby’s heartbeat
  • A lot of talking – medical history, current lifestyle, what will happen during pregnancy
couple holding a pregnancy test
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

Should the father go to the first prenatal visit?

Barring any covid restrictions, the father (or your birthing partner) should attend your first prenatal visit.

First, there is a lot of information for both of you. It might be easier for two people to remember everything, rather than relying on one foggy pregnancy brain. And dad might have his own questions, as well.

Second, your doctor will discuss the family medical history of both parents. It’s always a good idea to have someone there to give a first-hand account of their own health history.

Third, you will most likely have your first ultrasound, where you can actually see your baby and hear the baby’s heartbeat, and that is the best way to include dad in the pregnancy. He doesn’t know what you’re going through physically, so this way he gets to see and hear what’s in there.

What questions to ask at first prenatal appointment?

pregnant woman meditating
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Lifestyle Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

1. What food and drinks are safe for pregnancy?

There are foods that are not safe for pregnant women: raw fish, uncooked deli meat or undercooked meat, unpasteurized milk, and soft cheeses. Of course, you should completely avoid alcohol and too much caffeine.

Ask your doctor for a list of foods to avoid and the amount of caffeine you are allowed. Remember, it’s not just coffee, but sodas and teas as well.

2. How much weight should I gain during my pregnancy?

The amount of weight you should gain during pregnancy actually depends on what you weigh before you’re pregnant.

If you’re underweight, you should gain more. And if you’re overweight, you should gain less.

Ask your doctor what a healthy weight gain is for you. And remember, you’re not actually eating for two.

3. What exercises are safe for pregnancy?

Walking is the safest exercise you can do during any stage of your pregnancy, and it’s easy to get started even if you don’t already have a regular workout routine.

Consult with your doctor on any exercise routine you are currently doing or plan to start.

You should not be trying to lose weight during your pregnancy, but it is smart to stay healthy while you are pregnant and can even help during delivery.

4. What beauty products are safe for pregnancy?

You may need to change your beauty products that you are currently using.

If you have concerns about any of your current beauty products, feel free to take them with you to have your prenatal care provider review the ingredients of your products. And ask which products you can use in place of those products.

5. How long can I safely work?

How long you can work during your pregnancy really depends on your work environment.

If you work a desk job, you’ll most likely be able to work throughout your pregnancy. For any job that entails hours of standing or heavy lifting, some restrictions may be placed on you later in your pregnancy.

It’s always good to discuss you work plans with your doctor throughout the duration of your pregnancy.

pregnant woman taking vitamins
Photo by SHVETS production

Medical Related Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

6. What prescriptions and over-the-counter medications are safe?

Discuss any current prescription medications you may currently be taking and if they are safe for your unborn baby.

Also ask what over-the-counter medications are safe to take during pregnancy, as it is possible you will become sick at some point over the next nine months, since your immune system becomes weakened during pregnancy.

7. What prenatal vitamin should I be taking?

You should be taking a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid and DHA, among other things.

Ask your doctor which prenatal vitamin is recommended. Or if you’re already taking one, take it with you to get a confirmation that it is a good one.

8. What vaccinations and prenatal tests do I need?

Being pregnant, you are at a higher risk of becoming sick, so discuss which vaccinations will protect you and the baby and when you should get them (usually in your second trimester).

Also, there are certain prenatal tests that can determine health conditions and birth defects of your baby.

9. Is my personal medical history going to cause any issues with my pregnancy?

If you have medical concerns, any pre-existing conditions or a family history of issues, bring a list of your concerns to discuss with your doctor.

It’s also good to ask about any issues with your partner’s medical history as well, especially if it is something that may affect the baby.

woman holding sonogram pictures
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Prenatal Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

10. When will my prenatal appointments be?

You should have monthly prenatal appointments until you near the end of your pregnancy. It will then change to every other week and then every week until the baby comes.

However, you’ll want to ask your doctor the specifics of your appointments and any additional appointments you may need for prenatal tests or ultrasounds. You should also ask when your next appointment will be and what will happen.

11. What prenatal classes should I take and when?

Prenatal classes include childbirth classes, child care classes, infant CPR classes, and breastfeeding classes.

Talk to your healthcare provider which classes you would benefit from, which are available at your birthing center and when you should take them.

questions to ask at first prenatal appointment: woman talking to her doctor

12. What happens if I drank alcohol or took medications before knowing I was pregnant?

This is something many new moms worry about when finding out they’re pregnant. And you might be worried about it as well.

Definitely add this to your list of questions to ask at first prenatal appointment, if you had alcohol or took medications when you were pregnant to ease your mind.

pregnant woman lying on a couch
Photo by cottonbro studio

Pregnancy Related Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

13. What pregnancy symptoms can I expect?

Symptoms vary throughout your pregnancy, and you may already be experiencing some of them before your first prenatal appointment. A common one being morning sickness, which can actually happen any time of the day.

Ask about what you can expect to experience during each trimester, and what you can do to alleviate any symptoms.

14. What aches and pains are normal?

Along with the symptoms you may experience during your pregnancy, you may also experience slight aches and pains.

Ask about what aches and pains are normal during each trimester and which ones you should be concerned about if you experience them (or if you are currently experiencing any at the time of your appointment).

15. How can I avoid a high-risk pregnancy?

There are many ways to reduce your chances of having a high-risk pregnancy. Making healthy lifestyle changes is the simplest way to lower your risks.

Ask about anything specific to you and your pregnancy for the best plan to avoid pregnancy complications.

16. Are the any restrictions on sex?

Uncomplicated pregnancies shouldn’t have any restrictions on your sex life.

But it’s a good question to ask at your first prenatal visit and during your third trimester, as your due date gets closer.

17. Are the any restrictions on travel?

Uncomplicated pregnancies should have no travel restrictions applied, until closer to your due date.

Cruise lines will not allow you to travel after a certain week of your pregnancy. And flying can be unsafe later in your pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor if it is safe for you to travel.

If you do travel, research the area and locate the closest hospital and even an OBGYN to cover all your bases. And remember to take time during long car rides or flights to stand and stretch your legs to reduce swelling.

18. When should I start sleeping on my side?

Sleeping on your left side is recommended to allow for optimal blood flow to the baby (source). Although sleeping on either side is safer than sleeping on your stomach or back.

In the first trimester it is typically okay to sleep however you normally sleep, but ask your doctor when you should move to a side sleeping position. Try this pillow to make side sleeping more comfortable.

woman and her doctor
Photo by MART PRODUCTION

Doctor Related Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

19. Who will be my doctor for delivery?

Some medical practices have more than one doctor in rotation, so there is always a doctor available to perform deliveries. If you attend one of these offices, ask who your delivery doctor will be.

If it could be any of the doctors in the practice, be sure to meet with each of these doctors during your prenatal appointments, so you are comfortable with them.

Even if your doctor is the only doctor, it’s still good to ask, as they may have a backup for their off hours.

20. Who should I call in case of emergency?

You may not have direct contact with your doctor’s office after hours.

Be sure to get a number for emergency situations or ask if you should head straight to the emergency room.

21. What is your doctor’s position on these birthing and baby procedures?

You should discuss the following procedures with your health care provider to determine if you are both on the same page. It’s good to find out during your first prenatal visit, and if you don’t mesh well, it’s still early enough to find someone you love.

  • Scheduled c-sections
  • Inductions
  • Episiotomies
  • Pain management
  • Forceps
  • Vacuums
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Cord blood banking
  • Circumcision
  • Breastfeeding
  • Skin-to-skin contact

22. When can we discuss my birth plan?

As you learn more about pregnancy and delivery, you should write a birth plan to include what you want to happen during your delivery. It should include best- and worst-case scenarios, so you are prepared for each.

Ask your doctor if they are open to you writing a birth plan and when you can discuss it with them.

pregnant woman getting an ultrasound
Photo by MART PRODUCTION

Baby Related Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment

23. How many ultrasounds will I have and when will I find out the gender?

In a risk-free pregnancy, you can expect to have two ultrasounds. One to determine the due date and a second for an anatomy scan, where you will find out the gender.

However, a high-risk pregnancy (which could be as simple as maternal age) could cause the need to have more than two ultrasounds. It’s the best way for your doctor to determine the health of your baby. And you get more cute ultrasound pics!

24. When can I expect to feel baby move?

You should start counting kicks around 28 weeks (your third trimester), but you should start feeling flutters well before then.

Ask when you should expect to feel these movements and what they feel like. If you have an anterior placenta, it may be harder to feel your baby move.

25. Will I have breastfeeding support after the baby arrives?

If you choose to breastfeed your baby, you will need support to get started. So, find out if someone is available where you are giving birth.

If you are giving birth at a hospital that is part of the baby-friendly hospital initiative you should have access to a lactation consultant.

If you have no one available once the baby is born, request a consultation with a certified lactation consultant near you.

Conclusion

There you have it: 25 questions to ask at your first pregnancy appointment. The first visit to your prenatal care provider is one of the most important, as you’ll have many tests, meet your provider and ask important questions. It’s the time to really get to know your doctor and see if you’re comfortable with them.

We know first time moms have lots of questions. Let us know in the comments what other questions you would find helpful during your first appointment.

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25 Questions to Ask at First Prenatal Appointment and The Best Way to Be Prepared

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