The little pink plus sign just popped up, and you're ready for your first trip to the OB doctor. If it's your first pregnancy, you probably have plenty of unanswered questions. That's okay. Your doctor understands that new soon-to-be-mommies need guidance. Before heading out the door, put together a list (even if it's just a mental one) of what you want to know. If you're not sure where to start, check out these pregnancy questions that you might want to ask.
Is folic acid important?
Your friends have told you that pregnant women need to take folic acid. But, you're not sure why. Getting enough folic acid can help to prevent against birth defects that effect your growing baby's brain and spine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Your OB can explain how much folic acid you need to take daily during the next nine months.
What about vaccinations?
Even if you're already up to date on your vaccinations, you might want to ask the OB doctor about seasonal ones. Under most circumstances, a flu shot is recommended during pregnancy, notes the CDC. That said, every pregnancy (and pregnant woman) is different. Your doctor can guide you when it comes to making a vaccination decision. She'll look at the time of year and any health issues that you have (including allergies) before giving you the shot.
What tests are necessary?
This depends on your medical history and age. Common tests include an ultrasound and blood tests. Blood tests may look for genetic problems or hormone levels (yours, not your baby's). Other tests include a glucose tolerance test (for gestational diabetes) and a Group B strep culture (which you could pass on to your baby during delivery). Ask your doctor about the specific testing schedule, by week or by trimester. This will give you a better picture of what information you'll be able to have and when.
How do pregnant women prepare for labor?
Different women have different ideas when it comes to how they want delivery to go. Some want a completely natural (drug-free) birth, while others would rather not feel a thing. Along with whether to use pain medication or not, where you deliver (at home, a birthing center, in the hospital) and how you deliver (such as a water birth experience) are also important decisions. Based on your individual medical history and current tests, your doctor can help you to create a birth plan. Keep in mind, this may change as your pregnancy progresses or even on delivery day.
Along with these questions, you may want to ask your OB doctor about lifestyle changes that you'll have to make during pregnancy. This includes how much exercise you get, what types of physical activity are okay, what you should eat/not eat and how your job affects your pregnancy. Remember, your OB doctor is there to help you. She's heard and seen it all. You should feel comfortable asking anything that comes to mind—even if it seems silly. She'll take your questions seriously and help you to feel comfortable with your pregnancy.