When you’re newly pregnant, the excitement and thrill of your first prenatal appointment at the OBGYN can make it easy to overlook (or forget) what to ask at your first prenatal appointment. They are some very important questions that are essential for ensuring a safe, supported, pregnancy and relationship with your provider. Choosing your care provider is one of your first responsibilities as a parent, and it’s important that as a new mama you do your due diligence in who will be taking care of you and your baby. Remember that YOU are the customer and your provider is here to take care of you. You should never be made to feel like you are inconveniencing your provider.
It’s important that you and your provider align in values and approach. Most obstetric clinics allow you to schedule a “meet and greet” or a pre-conception appointment before you become pregnant.
Of course, there are the standard questions; “What medications are safe to take? How much weight should I gain? What’s off limits? What exercise is OK? Can I travel?” etc. etc. But there are other, highly significant topics that must be discussed before you enter this type of relationship, so I have compiled a list of questions of what to ask at your first prenatal appointment. You do not need to rapid-fire ALL of these off to your doctor, but I recommend getting as much information out of your brief time together as possible. It can be scary to think about some of these situations in the early days of pregnancy, but you do not want to find yourself in a position where you are abandoned or misaligned with your provider. Remember, you are allowed to switch providers at any time if it’s not working for you—you deserve to feel safe and seen.
Questions to Ask at Your Pre-Conception or First Prenatal Appointment:
- Do you have any vacation / extended period of time out of office during my pregnancy?
- How do you communicate with patients / how often do you respond to messages?
- Can I reach you / communicate with you directly?
- Who covers for you if you are gone?
- Who will deliver my baby if you are unable to be there?
- Who are the other doctors on call and will I meet them?
- Is there an after-hour number to call if I experience a miscarriage during the night or on a weekend?
- What type of miscarriage care do you provide?
- How do you monitor for and treat postpartum depression and anxiety?
- How often will I receive monitoring / appointments?
- Do you offer additional monitoring (ultrasounds) for families who’ve experienced pregnancy loss previously?
- What hospital will I deliver at?
- At what week do you recommend inducing labor?
- Are you pro-parent choice when it comes to newborn procedures?
- What level of NICU care are you able to provide?
- Are you equipped to treat high risk pregnancies?
- What’s your protocol / care path for high-risk patients?
- What is Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) and when would you refer me to one?
- Who do you work with for Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM)?
- Can high risk pregnancies deliver at your hospital (some do not)?
- Are you familiar with supporting a Lovenox pregnancy?
- After how many losses will you run a recurrent miscarriage blood panel for me?
- What prenatal testing do you do?
- How early can I do prenatal testing?
- Do you offer genetic carrier screening for parents?
- If my pregnancy is not viable, what are your philosophies?
- What are your policies and care options for terminating a pregnancy for medical reasons?
- How does the practice support someone who chooses to terminate for medical reasons?
- In the case of TFMR, is labor and delivery an option?
- Up until what week of pregnancy am I able to terminate for medical reasons?
- What week would we receive a fetal diagnosis that could potentially result in terminating for medical reasons?
- Who will hold us medically and walk us through the process of pregnancy interruption?
- At what age would my baby receive life support vs. palliative care if born prematurely?
- What postpartum care and follow up do you provide specifically after a termination for medical reasons, stillbirth or pregnancy loss?
- What will we do differently this pregnancy? (*if you’ve lost a pregnancy previously)
- What’s your C-Section rate? What’s your rate of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian)?
- May I have an elective, scheduled C-section if I experienced a traumatic birth previously?
- Are you the best doctor for me given my history?
What additional questions would you add to this list? Add in the comments!
Do you support natural or low/no intervention birth for patients who desire this? Would this be an option for me? (Obvs only ask if this is something you want, but sadly many hospitals aren’t too supportive of women laboring without intervention, even if they are low risk)
What are your thoughts on birth doulas? Are you comfortable working alongside a doula to support labor/delivery?