Pregnancy is a momentous, life-changing phase for many women. However, fear and confusion may overwhelm you as your body undergoes many changes. Your ob-gyn, short for obstetrician-gynecologist, will be your closest ally during pregnancy. However, you will need to properly communicate your concerns so that your ob-gyn can help you. How would you know what questions to ask the ob-gyn?
Your needs and concerns will change depending on your current trimester. Hence, you will discuss several topics with your ob-gyn over numerous sessions. Knowing which questions to focus on will go a long way towards preparing for any emergencies. Asking questions can ensure that your pregnancy proceeds as smoothly as possible.
You can use this article as a guide in planning which topics to talk about during your consultations. However, the questions you should ask are by no means limited to the ones listed in this article.
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Questions to Ask Ob-Gyn for the First Trimester
For the first trimester, many mothers have general questions about how to go about their pregnancy. Many of their concerns involve changes in diet or lifestyle, as well as what other changes to implement in their lives. Questions to ask ob-gyn at this stage should set the foundation for future behaviour in succeeding trimesters.
What would be my target weight gain?
Your body will naturally gain weight during pregnancy. While this may sound obvious, the added weight is not just because of the growing baby. Your body also grows extra tissues and organs, such as the placenta, to support your growing baby. Your body also increases its levels of fat to help cushion and protect your body.
All of these changes lead to weight gain. It can be confusing at first to know how much weight to gain. However, current standards recommend that you use your body mass index, or BMI, before pregnancy as a guide. The following table summarises the effect of BMI on your target weight gain.
Make sure to include weight gain questions as part of your questions to ask ob-gyn, as the numbers presented in this article are only approximate values.
What if I have a preexisting disease or a family history of one?
This one is a crucial concern that you should include as part of your questions to ask ob-gyn. Not all diseases can endanger your pregnancy, but there are some that can still be harmful.
Pregnancy imposes a certain level of stress on your body since your body will help create and sustain new life for around nine months. Any more can worsen certain health conditions, and these conditions can also reduce your body’s ability to support the baby.
As a general rule, you should discuss conditions that affect the cardiovascular system or other crucial areas of the body with your ob-gyn. Such conditions include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases.
If you have a family history of these diseases, you should also notify your ob-gyn so that you can be better prepared. Finally, any allergies to antibiotics or anesthesia should be raised now, as you will need these substances during labour.
Can I exercise during pregnancy?
The short answer is yes; however, some minor changes are in order. You can also exercise during pregnancy because contrary to myths, exercising is healthy when you're expecting. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, enabling better blood flow for you and your baby.
Exercise also boosts your immune system and elevates your mood. Your baby is sufficiently protected from the shocks of activity by your uterus and the amniotic fluid inside. Hence, it should pose no problem for pregnant women.
However, not all exercise routines are suitable during pregnancy. Generally, you would want to avoid extreme exercises that rapidly raise your heartbeat, especially if you were not especially fit before pregnancy.
You should also avoid those that can cause you to lose balance, as well as those that put excessive strain on your belly. To stay safe, include this as part of your questions to ask ob-gyn and make sure that you get the green light to continue.
What lifestyle changes should I make?
Some lifestyle changes are required. For example, you will need to stop consuming alcohol, as this can have a drastic effect on the development of your baby. Small amounts can also be dangerous, and it can affect you even if you don’t become drunk. Also, stop smoking. Nicotine and other substances in tobacco can cause developmental abnormalities in your growing baby.
For other aspects of your lifestyle, you would have to consult with your ob-gyn to accurately determine if you need to stop or modify those activities. Given that your lifestyle can impact your baby, make sure to include these in your questions to ask ob-gyn, especially during the first few visits.
How do I deal with work?
In most cases, you can continue with your work during pregnancy, sometimes up until the final month. However, if your work is physically exhausting or if it causes you to lose sleep and skip meals, you might have to consider making modifications to your work. Your health is now more critical than ever as you are also supporting your unborn child.
If your health fails, then your child will also suffer.
In addition, take heed if your work has significant occupational hazards. If, for example, your job involves routine exposure to chemicals, consider adding protective equipment or requesting an assignment to a safer position.
You will have to add this to your questions to ask ob-gyn so that you can properly analyse the risk. You will then have to communicate this to your superior at work so that he or she can give you the proper accommodations, sometimes, regardless of whether you're thirty-two or ten weeks pregnant.
What dietary supplements should I take?
As a general rule, getting all the nutrients you need from the food you eat is ideal, as they are most easily absorbed by the body when present in food. However, a lot of pregnant women do not have the time or resources available to plan perfect meals three times a day. Hence, dietary supplements can help ensure you still get the nutrition you need.
Of particular interest would be calcium, which is necessary in order to develop your baby’s bones, as well as when you are already lactating. You will also need vitamin C since it plays a role in bolstering immunity and promoting tissue growth.
Note also that receiving too much of any nutrient can also be dangerous. Watch out for vitamin A overdose, which can cause developmental abnormalities.
Again, only a medical professional can be able to determine your precise nutritional needs. Talk to your doctor and add dietary concerns to the questions to ask ob-gyn, who can refer you to specialists if you need special accommodations.
Can I continue my medications?
Medications can vary widely in terms of how they can affect your pregnancy. For instance, while many are harmless to your unborn baby, others can cause dangerous side effects. Such medicines are said to have teratogenic effects.
Fortunately, approved medications have been tested thoroughly for any teratogenic effects, and proper guidelines on their usage are readily available.
If you are taking any medications, raise that information to your ob-gyn. You might be required to switch some of the more harmful drugs with safer ones, or your doctor might tweak your dosage and treatment duration.
How about genetic screening?
Many diseases have a genetic background. Hence, genetic testing can give insights on how likely your baby will develop or acquire these conditions. This knowledge can be used to prepare treatment regimes that maximise the chances of getting a new prognosis.
The particular tests that you will have to undergo will depend on local laws as well as your family history for these diseases. You should also realise that many of these tests have some inherent risks.
For example, amniocentesis, which involves obtaining a sample of amniotic fluid, has a small chance of triggering a miscarriage. You will need to include these questions to ask ob-gyn, as you will need to talk about the benefits and risks of procedures like these. That way, you can minimise any dangers and reap the most significant benefit.
How can I maintain contact with my ob-gyn?
Expect that you will schedule multiple sessions with your ob-gyn. In addition, you might need to contact your ob-gyn if you ever encounter any emergencies. At the same time, your ob-gyn is not on duty every hour of every day.
Work-life balance is essential for a lot of people, including your ob-gyn. It is unreasonable to expect that your ob-gyn will be available anytime, especially if there aren’t any injuries.
Hence, it is essential to establish proper communication routes with your ob-gyn. During your first consultation, ask about how often you should meet with your ob-gyn. Discuss contingency plans for any emergencies, especially contact details for your ob-gyn. Preparation now will pay dividends later.
How often should I get in touch with an ob-gyn?
Usually, you would be expected to spend several weeks between visits for the first trimester. However, the frequency will gradually increase as your pregnancy progresses. Your particular schedule will depend on your needs as well as on the availability of your ob-gyn. Establishing how often you should attend consultations should be one of the questions to ask ob-gyn.
Questions To Ask Ob-Gyn For The Second Trimester
By the second trimester, you would have already adjusted to some of the lifestyle changes that pregnancy promotes. However, many more changes will occur, and you will need the guidance of your ob-gyn in order to avoid unnecessary anxiety.
Do I change my consultation schedules?
It is common to have more frequent consultations starting with the second trimester, depending on how your pregnancy is progressing. Usually, your ob-gyn will ask you about any unusual symptoms that you might feel, as well as the progress of any tests or monitoring procedures given to you.
If you have a condition that can endanger your pregnancy, expect that you would meet more frequently so that your ob-gyn can monitor you more closely. However, consultations once a month are already sufficient for many expectant mothers.
Is it safe to have sex?
Now that your belly is starting to bulge, you might think that sexual intercourse might be dangerous. These fears are unfounded, as you can still safely have sex even during the second trimester.
During pregnancy, mucus plugs the cervix, securing the uterus from any intrusion. Connective tissues also shield your baby, so even some vigorous action would not be enough to dislodge your baby.
As long as your pregnancy is going along healthily, you should be able to have sex safely. However, if you have pregnancy complications, it might be useful to include this in the questions to ask ob-gyn.
Are prenatal classes useful?
As you reach the midpoint of your pregnancy, your thoughts might start to wander towards life after pregnancy, as well as childbirth itself. You might have already heard about prenatal classes, which train women on techniques to help them deliver their child safely and efficiently. For example, you might want to dig deeper into knowing how painful childbirth is for a natural delivery.
The actual value of these classes will depend on your current experience with childbirth, as well as your physical condition. However, prenatal classes are generally useful for most cases.
If you are confused as to which prenatal classes to take, you can always include this in your questions to ask ob-gyn. Your ob-gyn should be able to recommend a course or two,
Are these weird sensations normal?
There will be days when you feel something is off. Maybe a bout of nausea will hit you, or perhaps you’ll find the sensation of carrying a baby weird. Pregnancy is full of various bodily changes, so it is normal to feel weird. And it's normal to get pregnancy cravings when they start hitting.
As a general rule, any unusual sensations are safe unless they occur suddenly or start to impact your daily life.
Just watch out for some danger signs. For example, if you suddenly have heavy vaginal bleeding or other sudden discharges, it might be time to call your ob-gyn. For less immediate symptoms, remember to include these as questions to ask ob-gyn, who should be able to determine whether these signify anything dangerous.
Do I need an ultrasound?
Typically, you would be given an ultrasound at your 20th week in order to assess your baby’s anatomy. This scan will ensure that your baby is developing accordingly, as well as screen for any developmental defects. Your ob-gyn will schedule this ultrasound by the second trimester, although you might get more scans if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
What tests can I expect for the second trimester?
If you have not yet undergone genetic testing during the first trimester, your ob-gyn may offer you an integrated test for the second trimester. This test screens for four genetic abnormalities:
- Down syndrome
- Trisomy 13
- Trisomy 18
- Spina bifida
Aside from these, you might also be asked to give a urine sample. Tests will be performed to measure how your kidneys are faring. Information obtained here will also help your doctor determine if you have any metabolic problems.
If you need more information about any of these tests, include your concerns in your questions to ask ob-gyn.
Am I cleared for travel?
Many couples want to take a short trip during the second trimester, as childbirth is fast approaching. It will be several months again before couples will be well enough to travel.
However, you will have to include travel plans in your questions to ask ob-gyn. You will need to be ready to travel physically and mentally, and your ob-gyn will help you make that decision. You will be given travel guidelines to ensure that your baby stays safe, so make sure to follow these instructions.
Do I need a flu vaccine?
If you have not yet taken a flu vaccine, now is the perfect time to do so. Getting sick with the flu can add to the stress experienced by your body. In addition, you will have a higher risk of developing complications.
Most flu vaccines should be suitable for you, as long as your ob-gyn agrees. However, stay away from nasal sprays or other vaccines that use a live version of the virus. There is a chance you will get sick from these vaccines.
How about my fitness?
It would also be a good time during the second trimester for your ob-gyn to assess your fitness. Take note that the fitter you are, the smoother your childbirth will be. If your ob-gyn foresees any problems, you might be prompted to start specific exercises to strengthen your core and pelvic muscles.
How can oral health affect pregnancy?
Strangely enough, bad oral health may increase your chances of preterm delivery. If you are already in a high-risk pregnancy, you might want to bring this up to your ob-gyn. You should also visit a dentist who can help you restore your oral health.
Questions To Ask Ob-Gyn For The Third Trimester
The third trimester is probably the most nerve-wracking out of the three trimesters. As your due date approaches, you may start to have a lot of questions to ask ob-gyn. Fortunately, your visits to the ob-gyn should become more frequent during the third trimester.
Are my baby's movements normal?
Your baby already has some motor skills by the third trimester, so expect some movement and kicks from your belly. Don’t worry, as your baby is nowhere strong enough to cause any damage to your uterus. If anything, any dynamic movement is a sign of good fetal health.
However, you should note if the activity of your baby suddenly changes. Raise this observation as one of the questions to ask ob-gyn so that any underlying conditions can be detected. If movements cease, contact your ob-gyn as soon as possible, since this may be a sign of fetal distress.
Is my baby's position normal?
Your ob-gyn should know how important your baby’s position is, but you should still raise this in one of your discussions. The usual one has the baby’s head pointed downwards towards the cervix.
Your baby is in a breech position if the legs are the body parts that are near the cervix. Delivery in a breech position is more difficult. Hence, your ob-gyn might recommend a procedure that rotates your baby to the proper orientation.
Do I need a pelvic or vaginal exam?
Usually, a thorough pelvic exam is not a requirement for normal deliveries. However, if you have complications during pregnancy, your ob-gyn might recommend this test in order to diagnose any dangerous conditions.
What if I'm Rh-negative, but my partner is Rh-positive?
If you have an Rh-negative blood type, include this concern as one of your questions to ask ob-gyn. If your partner is Rh-positive, your baby will also have Rh-positive blood. Your maternal immune system might detect the Rh-positive blood of the baby and mount an immune response against your baby’s blood cells.
To prevent this disaster, your ob-gyn will give you immunoglobulins that help prevent your immune system from attacking your baby’s cells. You and your baby will also be monitored closely for any signs of distress.
What do I do if I had a urinary tract infection?
A danger with urinary tract infections is that the pathogen might be passed on to your baby during birth. You will probably be given antibiotics before childbirth occurs. Even if the infection clears up by itself, you may still be given antibiotics to ensure that no traces of the pathogen remain, as your baby is susceptible to many diseases.
Do I need the vaccine for whooping cough?
Doctors recommend giving pregnant women the vaccine for whooping cough, a dangerous disease that can easily lead to the death of your baby. The vaccine will help your body produce antibodies against the causative bacteria. These antibodies will be passed on to your baby, giving protection for a few weeks as your baby’s immune system matures.
What warning signs should I look for?
Aside from sudden inactivity from your baby, you should look out for any heavy bleeding or other discharge. Strong contractions may also occur from time to time, but these do not necessarily indicate impending labour. These movements are merely the result of your uterus strengthening itself to prepare for childbirth.
You should include signs of labour as part of your questions to ask ob-gyn. If you feel regular contractions that are five minutes apart, then labour has probably already started. A sudden gush of fluid may indicate that your amniotic sac has already ruptured. Finally, you might see a “bloody show” discharge, meaning that the cervix has already unsealed.
What type of delivery will I undergo?
This one is among the most critical questions to ask ob-gyn. This decision will depend on the state of your pregnancy, as well as how many previous deliveries you’ve undergone. If your pelvis is sufficiently large and there are no other complications, you should be able to have a natural birth. Otherwise, you might have to undergo a cesarean section.
Note that a previous cesarean section does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to have a natural birth again. However, you should coordinate with your ob-gyn to ensure that he or she has accounted for all risks.
What will happen during labour?
Another one of the crucial questions to ask ob-gyn involves how labour will proceed. Knowing more about how the labour process goes can help you calm down and focus on the task at hand. Your ob-gyn should guide you on what exactly will happen during childbirth. Your ob-gyn should also give you an idea of the people who will be assisting you during labour.
How do I find a doctor for my baby?
Finally, after you bring your baby to the world, you would need to have a medical specialist who will educate you on taking care of your baby’s health. Your ob-gyn should be able to suggest doctors who will be able to fulfil this need. In addition, your ob-gyn should help you communicate any special considerations to your baby’s doctor.
When do I get a second opinion?
If your ob-gyn suggests a procedure that carries significant risks, or if your ob-gyn diagnoses you or your baby with a life-threatening condition, you should get a second opinion. It drastically reduces the chances of any mistakes. You will need to be sure if you deal with such heavy situations.
How do I build a good relationship with my ob-gyn?
Remember that your ob-gyn is human. Respecting boundaries and following any recommendations by your ob-gyn are already good ways to build rapport. If your ob-gyn does a good job, consider referring your relatives and friends. Referrals lift your ob-gyn’s career and are a strong affirmation of good performance.