When you announce that you’re expecting a baby, a few things are certain to come your way: congratulations, excitement and lots of advice. Soaking in all that motherly, neighborly and online community knowledge can be a great way to mentally prepare for parenthood. But dealing with all the incoming information can also be stressful and overwhelming. Keeping a clear perspective is important.
You might already have an Ob-GYN, but if not, it’s time to consider who you’d want to care for you and your bump over the next nine months. Your pregnancy care team could include many different types of providers. Here are nine questions from our doctors and nurses—many who have kids themselves—to think about when choosing a prenatal doctor.
Nine questions for your OB-GYN:
1. How much experience do you have?
This question can feel awkward, but you're trusting them with a very important job. You will spend a lot of time together in the months ahead and knowing you have an experienced doctor can provide peace of mind.
2. Will you honor my wishes when I’m in labor?
You can try to plan your big day down to the minute, but every birth is unique and unfolds in its own way. There may be some big decisions made by your care team during your labor, and it’s smart to have a conversation about different possibilities early on. Talk about what you want to happen if something unexpected comes up. You also want to know that your doctor is on board with what’s important to you. Writing a birth plan is a great tool for mentally preparing yourself for your big day.
3. When should I start looking for a pediatrician for my child? Can you help?
It’s never too early to find a great pediatrician for your child. But it’s also important to know that family doctors, internal medicine-pediatric doctors, and physician assistants and nurse practitioners are all options too.
Your own doctor can be a great resource, helping field questions and even refer you to a doctor in your network. You can also check out our guide on choosing a doctor for your baby, which gives you step-by-step suggestions.
4. What medicines are safe for me to take?
Ask your OB about the medicine you’re currently taking, or those you like to take when needed. You may have to make due with alternatives during your pregnancy. Your OB will recommend prenatal vitamins and may also have other recommendations to help make your pregnancy healthy and comfortable.
5. What should and shouldn't I eat?
You'll find a lot of different advice online about what you should eat and what you should avoid while pregnant. Your OB is a good source to know what nutrients and food choices are best during pregnancy. They can also guide you to other credible sources for helpful information.
6. What should I do if I don’t feel well?
Being pregnant is sometimes uncomfortable. Ask what your doctor recommends to safely ease normal pregnancy discomforts like morning sickness or back soreness. If you experience cramping, spotting, sudden swelling, chills or fever, call your nurseline or clinic. As your pregnancy progresses, always tell your doctor about any symptoms that concern you. If a symptom feels urgent, call right away. Ask your doctor where to call after hours.
7. Do you recommend that I attend a childbirth class?
Child birth classes, if you are able to take them, are a great way to mentally prepare for your big day, bond with your partner and meet other expectant parents. Lots of good information is readily available if classes don’t work for you. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on any type of education that matches up with your birth wishes.
8. When labor begins, when should I go to the hospital?
The answer to this one will differ based on the specifics of your pregnancy. Don't play it by ear. Ask your OB for guidelines. Care teams always have information on what, when and where so make sure that info is easy to access for when you may think you’re experiencing the symptoms of early labor.
9. How can I contact you when I think of nine more important questions?
More questions are inevitable. A good doctor will answer all of your questions as they arise. Write down questions in between appointments or call if something feels urgent. Each OB will have their own style of communication and you want to make sure that style feels comfortable to you. Take advantage of the other resources your care team has to offer as well.
Haven’t found the right provider yet? Find a great care team near you.