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Five Questions for Every Maternity Appointment

August 24, 2018
Pregnant? Ask Your Doctor These Questions

Pregnancy is an exciting, 40-week journey, and you’ll go to your OB-GYN or midwife’s office often as your baby develops. Physicians typically recommend monthly appointments for your first two trimesters, beginning at eight weeks or so after your last normal period. Then, it’s every two weeks up until week 36, followed by weekly visits until you give birth.

You’ll probably have lots of early pregnancy questions, and answers can come from your doctor or midwife (if you don’t have a regular physician at this point, we’ve got some tips to help you choose the right doctor). Here are some important things you should ask your doctor at each appointment along the way.

8 Week Appointment

Your first appointment will fall somewhere between weeks 8 and 10. Be sure to ask:

  • What pregnancy symptoms should I expect?
  • How much weight should I gain, what diet should I follow, and what should I add to my diet or try to avoid? And what prenatal vitamins or supplements do you recommend?
  • Which over-the-counter or prescription medications that I’m already taking are safe, and are there substitutes for any that aren’t?
  • What activities are safe — such as exercise, sex or flying? And what prenatal classes should I consider?
  • What if I’m cramping or spotting — what’s normal and when should I call you right away?
12 Week Appointment

This month’s appointment falls toward the end of the first trimester. Your baby will be getting bigger and your body will be feeling some changes.

  • I’m still feeling morning sickness — is this normal?
  • Why am I having heartburn?
  • How can I help limit stretch marks, and what lotions are safe for my baby?
  • What are Kegels, and how can they help my recovery after childbirth?
  • Is my vaginal discharge normal?
16 Week Appointment

By this time, your doctor might recommend some tests or screens, including an ultrasound.

  • How do I find a pediatrician?
  • My gums are bleeding and they haven’t before — should I be worried?
  • What’s the best way to deal with the constipation I’m experiencing?
  • Is my weight on target and what kind of safe exercise can I still do?
20 Week Appointment

Now you’re likely around the halfway mark of your pregnancy. Your ultrasound might tell if you’re having a boy or a girl — do you want to know? Other questions to think about:

  • I’m feeling hungry all the time — what’s the best diet plan for me, three meals a day or several small meals and snacks?
  • Why am I getting leg cramps at night, and how can I make them better?
  • My ankles and feet are swelling — is that normal?
  • Why does my back hurt?
  • What treatments are safe for my new discomforts?
24 Week Appointment

Your body’s still changing, the baby’s still growing, and you’ll still have some questions.

  • • How long can I keep working and should I be changing how I do my job?/li>
  • • What’s the best yeast infection treatment during pregnancy?
  • • I feel like I’m having contractions — they don’t hurt, but should I worry about them?
  • • What is this discoloration in my face — will it go away?
  • • Why are my hands and wrists hurting?
28 Week Appointment

As you reach the end of the second trimester, your appointments will likely become more frequent.

  • • My feet, ankles and hands are even more swollen — when do I have to worry about preeclampsia?
  • • I’ve been feeling a bit dizzy — is this normal?
  • • What is this shooting pain down the back of my legs? How can I treat my sciatica?
  • • Would a pelvic-support belt help with the pain I’m feeling in my pelvis?
  • • Do I need to worry about Rh factor incompatibility for my child?
32-36 Weeks Appointments

The next several appointments, until week 36, will probably be set for every two weeks. There are a lot of questions to ask your OB-GYN before delivery, including:

  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, and which is better for me?
  • What is cord blood, and should we consider banking it?
  • What kind of pain plan will be best for my delivery?
  • What should I pack in my baby bag?
  • What are the signs of early labor?
The Home Stretch

By week 36, you’ll be having weekly visits until your labor. Here are some final questions to ask as you approach your baby’s birth:

  • What’s a doula, and should I consider hiring one?
  • When will my baby be ready to deliver?
  • What’s a perineal massage, and how can it help my labor?
  • Am I likely to need a C-section or episiotomy?
  • What help might I need for breastfeeding?