You’ve received the big news – you’re going to have a baby! In addition to preparing for the baby to come home, chances are you’ve got a lot of nagging medical or personal questions that you want to ask your doctor. Be sure to take a notebook or a list of questions when you go to your first (or next) appointment. As much as we like to think we’ll remember everything, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the doctor appointment, we completely forget our most pressing questions.
Here are five questions to ask your OB/GYN during your pregnancy.
1) Are the medications I’m taking safe during pregnancy?
Doctors are usually proactive about discussing your prescription medications because they’re almost always in your medical records, but over-the-counter medications are completely different.
Never assume that just because you can buy medicine in a drugstore that it’s safe to take when pregnant. If you suddenly come down with a cold or are fighting a headache and want to grab your go-to pain reliever from your medicine cabinet, be sure to check with your doctor first. Some of the most general over-the-counter medications are off limits for moms-to-be.
2) Should I contact you if I have bad cramping or see spotting during my pregnancy?
You should contact your doctor at any point that you feel anxious or nervous. Your birth team is there to support you and help educate you.
While implantation bleeding may occur early in some pregnancies, other women experience spotting throughout the entire 40 weeks. Mild cramps and light spotting are not a cause for alarm but should be immediately addressed with your doctor.
Heavier bleeding and painful cramps could indicate a possible miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, both should be confirmed by your OB/GYN.
There are multiple reasons for spotting to occur. As a result, it’s best to ease your mind by talking about them with your birth team.
3) Who will deliver my baby?
Depending on the set-up of your doctor’s practice, you may see one or multiple doctors during your pregnancy.
For example, you could see one doctor only through your whole pregnancy and have that doctor deliver the baby. On the other hand, you could end up with whoever happens to be on call from that office at your delivery time.
It’s good to know and be prepared so that you don’t arrive at the hospital and find out then that your regular doctor won’t be taking care of you. Most practices that have several doctors will rotate you through during appointments so that you’re familiar with most doctors in the practice.
With this in mind, don’t be afraid to request the doctor you feel the most comfortable with. Also, know that it is never too late to change practices.
4) How often do you use interventions during labor?
Interventions have a time and a place during labor, but you should always feel like you are a part of the decision.
From using Pitocin to induce contractions, manually rupturing your membranes to move labor along, or even doing an episiotomy, you will want to be on the same page with your birth team.
Clarify with your doctor what interventions could occur and at what point they recommend them. Having the time to research and understand each procedure beforehand will help you feel empowered to make educated decisions during labor.
If you feel uncomfortable with any of the interventions that you know your doctor may perform, you’ll want to have an honest conversation with them before it’s time to deliver your baby.
If you find that you and your doctor have differing opinions about a procedure, you may want to consider finding a different OB/GYN.
5) Should I have genetic testing done?
Genetic testing can provide valuable information about the health of your unborn baby, but at what cost?
Most conditions these tests detect are very rare, and there could be risks associated with having the tests done. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about genetic testing. Your doctor will have your medical history and will be able to tell you if genetic testing is warranted for you and your baby.
Many new moms don’t want to ask their doctors these questions for fear of offending them, or because they don’t want to sound like an overly worried mom-to-be. But this is what your doctor is there for.
I promise you, they’ve heard far more probing questions, and they do not mind answering them. They want you to go into labor feeling comfortable and confident. The birth team that you choose to support you throughout your pregnancy is just that, a team. Make sure you can all work together, so you can have the greatest (and happiest) of outcomes.
Guest author: Purusha Rivera is the founder and president of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear. After graduating in 2000 with a degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, she became a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer specializing in OB/GYN. Since then, she has poured her heart into creating pregnancy keepsakes that bring happiness and comfort to families across the globe. Her innovative heartbeat kits have blossomed into gender reveal kits, recordable picture frames, and beautiful cards.