5 Things to Ask the Doc at Your First OB Appointment
Is it just me, or does it feel like the wait until your first prenatal check-up is foreeeevvveerr?
Honestly, from the time you pee on a stick until the time your OB care provider actually sees you, it feels like it takes nine months itself. I know my own personal doctor wouldn't even see me until after 12 weeks, and the whole process was long and excruciating.
So when you finally get in to see your OB provider, you will want to be sure to make the most if it, and coming in prepared with an arsenal of questions to have answered is an excellent first step.
I mean, I'm not saying go in literally with a pad of paper and questions, but if you want to write them out ahead of time and just casually ask them when you're there, that's your own decision. *Wink*
OK, ready? Here is what I would recommend you ask at that first appointment:
“What specific testing will be done and what's optional?”
There are a lot of tests that are kind of thrown your way at that first appointment, and frankly, it can be easy to just sign the paperwork and not really know what you're getting tested for.
Most of the testing is standard, but you will still want to know exactly what's being tested, and if you are paying out of pocket, you may want to be even more careful to be sure everything you are being tested for is best for you and your baby.
For example, with my first baby, my midwife tested me for several different STDs that weren't part of the normal pregnancy panel simply because I was young and not married, but they weren't covered by my insurance.
They were not necessary for me, and she took them without my consent, so I fought the charges, which were several hundred dollars and an embarrassing headache as well.
“What is the process for the in-office providers?”
If your OB office has different providers, you'll want to ask about the rotation of practitioners.
For example, you might see every doctor or midwife at least once, so you'll be familiar with everyone when it comes time to deliver and you end up with whoever happens to be on call.
Other offices may have you see only one provider, and still others, might use hospital on-call doctors, so it helps to know what to expect so you can prepare yourself to get to know several people during your pregnancy.
“So, what should I do if I feel like something's gone wrong — like in an emergency?”
Some doctors may have an after-hours number to call, and some may simply want you to call the hospital directly, but either way, get that number in your phone right then and there.
“What are you guys' stats about certain procedural rates?”
You may feel rude asking, but it's your right. I think it's helpful to see the cold, hard numbers for the “big” statistics that may not be advertised by that fancy website. Ask about their induction, epidural, c-section, episiotomy rates — anything that you feel might affect your care.
If one particular doctor in the practice has a much higher c-section rate than others, for example, you might want to do some digging into why that is.
“What am I at risk for?”
Based on your age, weight, conception circumstances (such as IVF), and history, your doctor may know if you are at risk for any certain complications. You may not even be aware of those complications, even if your provider is monitoring for them, but asking ahead of time may help you be on the lookout for signs and symptoms if they develop.
What did you ask at your first prenatal check-up?