Ask About All Your Options
More couples are waiting to start families after age 35. If you’re concerned about your future fertility options, talk to your doctor about them now. Fertility does decline as you get older, but not everyone will have difficulty conceiving.
If you are single or otherwise not in a position to start trying to have a family, this is also an important topic to discuss with your health care provider. You might choose to consider egg freezingthough it is expensive and is not without risk. Ask your doctor if egg freezing would be an option for you, given your specific situation.
Should I Be Taking Low
New research indicates low-dose aspirin reduces the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal complication that affects 2% to 8% of pregnancies. There is no known treatment except delivery, says White, which can be challenging if your baby is premature.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends low-dose aspirin beginning around the 12th week of pregnancy for people with:
- A history of preeclampsia
- Preterm delivery at less than 34 weeks of gestation
- High-risk factors like diabetes, renal disease, or chronic hypertension
- IF you are 35 years old with either your first pregnancy or a body mass index greater than 30
What the research says: A 2017 study of women at a high risk of developing preeclampsia found a significant decrease in the rate of preterm preeclampsia in those who took aspirin compared to the placebo group. They took low-dose aspirin daily starting at 11 to 14 weeks into pregnancy until 36 weeks gestation. Meanwhile, a 2007 review of 59 trials found a 17% relative reduction in preeclampsia with low-dose aspirin use.
Those who have a hypersensitivity to NSAIDs, asthma, or a history of stillbirth, ulcers, or gastrointestinal bleeding should not take aspirin during pregnancy.
Your First Prenatal Visit
During your first prenatal visit, you will be screened for potential medical issues or other concerns that could affect your pregnancy. Ideally, you will make an appointment for your first prenatal visit as soon as your pregnancy has been confirmed.
Your doctor will likely schedule the appointment around 6 to 8 weeks into your pregnancy. However, they may see you sooner if you:
- have an existing medical condition
- have had prior problems with pregnancy
- have certain symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, and severe nausea or vomiting
At your first visit, your doctor will check your vital signs and take your medical history. They may perform certain examinations and tests, including blood and urine tests.
Its important to ask your doctor questions and to address any concerns you may have about your pregnancy.
They will also describe the importance of eating a balanced diet, exercising, and taking certain prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. Make sure to ask your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines or supplements you might want to take while youre pregnant. They can advise you whether they are safe to use during pregnancy.
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Are There Any Dietary Restrictions Needed During Pregnancy
The follow-up question to this is always primarily about coffee. A certain amount of caffeine, about 200mg, is considered fine. However, caffeine can also be a constituent of many other food items ranging from beverages, chocolates, and tea. Generally, fruits, dairy products, and grains are great foods to focus on. Do stay away from raw meat or even packaged meat, and greasy fried foods.
What Lifestyle Changes Should I Make
Some lifestyle changes are required. For example, you will need to stop consuming alcohol, as this can have a drastic effect on the development of your baby. Small amounts can also be dangerous, and it can affect you even if you dont become drunk. Also, stop smoking. Nicotine and other substances in tobacco can cause developmental abnormalities in your growing baby.
For other aspects of your lifestyle, you would have to consult with your ob-gyn to accurately determine if you need to stop or modify those activities. Given that your lifestyle can impact your baby, make sure to include these in your questions to ask ob-gyn, especially during the first few visits.
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Do You Recommend Any Certain Childbirth Classes
There are lots of choices available to consumers when it comes to childbirth classes. Do you go to classes that your friends took? Should you take hospital-based classes? Find out what options are available in your community and who your practitioner or your friends recommend. If your practitioner does not recommend that you take a childbirth class, you make want to find out why because that may be a red flag.
How Long Can I Work When I’m Pregnant
Depending on the nature of your work, you can likely keep at it until you deliver though if you have a particularly physically strenuous job or pregnancy complications your practitioner may recommend some restrictions for your safety and your baby’s.
It’s also important to discuss any emotional stressors you experience at work with your doctor, who can help you determine if you should avoid them or find other ways to cope.
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Do I Need An Ultrasound
Typically, you would be given an ultrasound at your 20th week in order to assess your babys anatomy. This scan will ensure that your baby is developing accordingly, as well as screen for any developmental defects. Your ob-gyn will schedule this ultrasound by the second trimester, although you might get more scans if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
What Risk Factors May Increase My Time At The Doctor
Patients who have certain risk factors that may make them experience a high risk pregnancy will want to visit their doctor more often than those who dont. The risk factors that may contribute to a high risk pregnancy include:
- Women over the age of 35
- Women with pre-existing health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Women with a higher risk of preterm labor, or those who have a history of preterm labor or birth
- Women who have medical problems that develop during their pregnancy, including high blood pressure or gestational diabetes
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What Should I Eator Not Eat
Its a good idea to think about being as healthy as you can be prior to becoming pregnant. Along those lines, you may be wondering if there are foods and beverages that you should avoid if youre hoping to get pregnant. In general, experts advise eating a healthy, balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods. You might want to avoid undercooked meat, to reduce the risk of possibly contracting toxoplasmosis, which is an illness caused by the parasite toxoplasma gondii. While youre on the topic of whats safe to consume, check in with your provider about what other substances are safe or unsafe during pregnancy so you can best protect yourself and your pregnancy.
Why Did I Start Bleeding Should I Be Concerned
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, changes in the cervix and uterus may lead to spotting or intermittent bleeding. This is completely normal. If the bleeding lasts longer than you are comfortable with, call your obstetrician. If you are keeping up with your monthly visits to your OB-GYN, they will be able to closely monitor the situation.
If you have any concerns or feel pain or discomfort, call your OB-GYN and ask for a well-being check. They will be able to uncover the cause of your discomfort and recommend a possible treatment plan to get it under control. Its important that the placenta and embryonic sac stay intact throughout the pregnancy. If there is any kind of disruption or damage, your doctor may recommend a C-section.
Heavy bleeding is a serious sign and should not be ignored. Any time you start to bleed heavily, its crucial that you call your doctor right away. Right before the babys birth, you may experience what is referred to as the bloody show. This is actually a mucus plug that builds up to keep the birth canal secure. Once it is released, the babys birth is not far behind.
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Common Questions To Ask
There are some questions that doctors get asked all the time, these include:
- How long after stopping my birth control can I get pregnant?
- When is the best time to have sex during my cycle to get pregnant?
- How long does it take to get pregnant?
- Could my medication prevent me from falling pregnant?
- How can I get my body ready for pregnancy?
- What are the options for fertility testing?
The questions above should be give you some good ideas about what you might like to ask your doctor. To get the most from the meeting, youll need to do some homework!
What If I’m Rh
If you have an Rh-negative blood type, include this concern as one of your questions to ask ob-gyn. If your partner is Rh-positive, your baby will also have Rh-positive blood. Your maternal immune system might detect the Rh-positive blood of the baby and mount an immune response against your babys blood cells.
To prevent this disaster, your ob-gyn will give you immunoglobulins that help prevent your immune system from attacking your babys cells. You and your baby will also be monitored closely for any signs of distress.
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Should I Run Certain Genetic Tests For My Baby
Certain doctors recommend running tests on the baby while its in the womb, to check for any abnormalities. However, thats usually done only if you or your family members have a history of such defects or susceptible to them at a higher risk. Generally, only 3-5% of babies have birth defects so unless the doctor really feels like it, you dont need any tests.
As beautiful as pregnancy might be, its natural to feel anxious and worry about a safe and healthy delivery. Its best to clear your doubts and fears by having frank conversations with your doctor and take their advice to continue having a great experience and a healthy baby.
Do You Routinely Use Interventions In Labor Or Do You Wait Until There Is An Indication
Labor and delivery is a tricky situation sometimes.
Some providers have a one size fits all approach when it comes to managing a laboring mother.
Although doctors have the best intentions, sometimes when they use interventions routinely for every patient, laboring mothers end up with interventions that they never actually needed.
Talk to your doctor about the interventions that they perform or order for all of their patients. Typical interventions that many doctors do for everyone that you might want to ask about are:
- Cervical exams every two hours
- IV fluids given on admission and continuously throughout labor
- Continuous fetal monitoring starting on admission and continuing until birth
- Rupture of membranes at a certain cervical dilation
- IV Pitocin given immediately after birth
Some of these interventions are needed for some mothers. Talk to your doctor about when and why they resort to certain interventions so that you can be sure you are receiving the care that you need and not receiving one size fits all care.
Discuss options with your provider regarding individualized care.
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At What Point Do You Talk About The Artificial Induction Of Labor
Induction of labor is used when medically indicated that your baby is safer on the outside than on the inside. Unfortunately, social induction, or inducing labor with no medical reason has become more common. While there are many theories on why be sure to talk to your practitioner about using induction wisely to protect you and your baby.
What Should I Do Now To Prepare For Breastfeeding
The 3rd trimester is a great time to learn about breastfeeding through prenatal classes, books, websites, lactation support groups, videos, and podcasts. Its also a good time to talk to your doctor or midwife to see if you have any risk factors for low milk production. These risk factors include a medical history of breast surgery, polycystic ovarian syndrome , hypothyroidism, diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases. Also, be sure you’ve applied for a free breast pump through insurance.
There has been increased awareness in recent years of the importance of preparing for your postpartum recovery. This period of time is sometimes referred to as the 4th trimester. The University of North Carolinas New Moms Health is an excellent resource for helping to prepare for your postpartum recovery and 4th trimester.
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Are My Baby’s Movements Normal
Your baby already has some motor skills by the third trimester, so expect some movement and kicks from your belly. Dont worry, as your baby is nowhere strong enough to cause any damage to your uterus. If anything, any dynamic movement is a sign of good fetal health.
However, you should note if the activity of your baby suddenly changes. Raise this observation as one of the questions to ask ob-gyn so that any underlying conditions can be detected. If movements cease, contact your ob-gyn as soon as possible, since this may be a sign of fetal distress.
Do I Need The Vaccine For Whooping Cough
Doctors recommend giving pregnant women the vaccine for whooping cough, a dangerous disease that can easily lead to the death of your baby. The vaccine will help your body produce antibodies against the causative bacteria. These antibodies will be passed on to your baby, giving protection for a few weeks as your babys immune system matures.
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Who Do I Call If I Have Questions About Labor
Towards the end of your pregnancy, you might have questions about the symptoms that you’re having. You might even need advice on whether or not you are in labor and need to come into the hospital.
Ask your doctor who it is that you’ll need to contact if you start having signs of labor or concerns about your pregnancy in the final weeks.
Your doctor might provide you with their number, the number to their office, or the number for the labor and delivery unit in the hospital. Either way, just make sure you know who to contact when you need assistance or advice.
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What Do I Do If I Had A Urinary Tract Infection
A danger with urinary tract infections is that the pathogen might be passed on to your baby during birth. You will probably be given antibiotics before childbirth occurs. Even if the infection clears up by itself, you may still be given antibiotics to ensure that no traces of the pathogen remain, as your baby is susceptible to many diseases.
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What Is Your Cesarean Delivery Rate
The United States has a cesarean delivery rate of 32%, which is significantly higher than the recommended 10% to 15%. While c-sections can prevent otherwise unavoidable maternal or newborn deaths, they also pose risks like:
- Blood clots
- Increased risks during a future pregnancy
Additionally, recovering from a C-section can take four to six weeks, making it difficult for a new mother to care for their baby, says White.
“I think talking to your provider at your first prenatal visit about their cesarean rate and how they approach C-sections is a good thing,” says White. A safe and healthy delivery should be the ultimate goal, but understanding why and when your doctor would recommend a cesarean section is important to discuss.
What’s The Best Way To Contact You If I Have More Questions
It’s happened to everyone – as soon as you walk out of the doctor’s office, you think of a question you should have asked. When you see your OB for the first time, ask them about the best way to contact them. This way, peace of mind will be close by if a question about your pregnancy that is causing concern.
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Support Throughout Your Pregnancy
Dont forget to ask your doctor about who to contact for different reasons. If youre suffering from extreme morning sickness, have ongoing vaginal bleeding or severe stomach cramps who should be your first point of contact? In urgent cases the hospital should always be your first choice but in those non-urgent situations that require medical advice but dont necessarily warrant a trip to the hospital who should you call?
Be sure to ask your doctor when they can be reached, if they prefer email or if they have other healthcare members on staff that can be contacted for non-urgent issues.
What Is The Best Way To Reduce Your Babys Risk Of Birth Defects
Folic acid is a vital nutrient that is necessary for the health and well-being of the newborn. It is also essential for proper development. Its important to choose a prenatal vitamin with the necessary folic acid and other essential nutrients.
The best way to keep your babys risk to a minimum is to attend all of your routinely scheduled prenatal appointments. This gives your obstetrician a chance to closely monitor your pregnancy and help maintain your and your babys good health. Monthly visits allow your obstetrician to pay close attention to any changes or abnormalities you may experience during your pregnancy.
While taking supplements can be beneficial, some may not be good for your baby. Follow your doctors orders and only take the supplements and medications they recommend. If you are on medication for a specific health condition, you will want to discuss your options with your doctor before ceasing the medication. Certain types of medication are associated with both birth defects and an increased risk of a baby being stillborn.
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