Questions to Ask Your Doctor By Trimester
Pregnancy is a new and exciting time for every mother, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any questions along the way. Here, we’ll go over the important questions you should bring up with your doctor that will help ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
First Trimester Questions
During the first trimester, your baby starts developing rapidly. The fetus begins to develop a brain and spinal cord, and the organs start to form. The baby’s heart will also begin to beat during the first trimester. For the mother, your body makes extra blood and your heart pumps faster to meet the needs of your pregnancy. Here are some of the most important things you can ask your doctor during the first trimester:
How Often Do I Have Doctor Appointments?
You’ll have scheduled appointments throughout your pregnancy, with the frequency increasing the further along you are in your pregnancy. In the first trimester, for example, you may go several weeks between visits, but by the final month, you may be having an appointment every week.
What Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
Being pregnant means making lifestyle changes throughout the pregnancy to ensure the health of you and your baby. Below, we’ll outline what you should avoid during your pregnancy:
Foods that should be avoided:
- Fish that contain high levels of mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, orange roughy, and tilefish). Limit albacore tuna to six ounces a week
- Unpasteurized milk and foods
- Hot dogs, lunch meats, and cold cuts (unless they’re heated until steaming hot before serving)
- Refrigerated pate, meat spreads, and smoked seafood
- Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat
Medications that should be avoided include:
- Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve), and naproxen
- Phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, and other similar decongestants
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
Habits that should be avoided include:
- Alcohol and marijuana
- Smoking and vaping
- Changing cat litter boxes (due to a parasite called toxoplasmosis)
How Much Weight Should I Gain in Pregnancy?
It all depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Here are the recommendations for pregnancy weight gain:
- Average weight: 25-35 lbs.
- Underweight: 28-40 lbs.
- Overweight: 15-25 lbs.
- Obese: 11-20 lbs.
What Should I Do to Ensure My Baby’s Health?
At the beginning of your pregnancy, there are things you can do to make sure your baby is as healthy as possible.
- Take prenatal vitamins. Pregnant moms should take a vitamin that contains both vitamin D and folic acid, which are found in most prenatal vitamins. It’s also important to make sure your diet includes sources of calcium, iron, and other vitamins. If you have a special diet, you may need additional supplements during pregnancy.
- Genetic testing. What kind of prenatal genetic testing you undergo – and whether you choose to do any at all – is a very personal decision. Talk to your doctor about your goals and then you’ll be able to choose the right genetic testing to meet your needs.
Warning Signs and What to Do in Case of Emergency
Your body goes through many changes that are completely normal but can feel very strange throughout your pregnancy. Talking with your doctor about which signs and symptoms are normal and which ones are dangerous will help in the future if you happen to experience them.
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Second Trimester Questions
As you begin your second trimester, you should be adjusted to the lifestyle changes that come with pregnancy. However, more changes will occur, and you’ll need the guidance of your doctor to avoid any unnecessary anxiety. Below, we’ll go over some of the questions that are important to ask during your second trimester.
What Should I Do for Exercise?
It’s recommended that women should be physically active at least 30 minutes three times per week throughout pregnancy. Exercises like walking, yoga, Pilates, and swimming are all good options.
You should also avoid all contact and extreme sports, as well as scuba diving. It’s also recommended that you avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time as this position may interfere with blood flow to your uterus.
Is It Safe to Take Baths or Go into Hot Tubs During My Second Trimester?
It’s totally fine to swim and take baths as long as your water hasn’t broken. Hot tubs should be avoided, especially during the first half of pregnancy, due to a risk of miscarriage and birth defects from exposure to high temperatures.
Third Trimester Questions
The third trimester can be the most nerve-wracking of the three trimesters. As your due date approaches, you may start to have a lot of questions for your doctor. Fortunately, you’ll be seeing your doctor more frequently during your third trimester, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
What Vaccines Do I Need to Get During My Third Trimester?
There are vaccines that you’ll need during your pregnancy, including the inactivated flu vaccine and the Tdap vaccine. Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy.
When Do I Need to Stop Flying?
Airplane travel is allowed up to about 36 weeks of gestation for domestic travel but may be earlier for international flights. Since pregnant women are at risk of forming blood clots in their legs it’s recommended that you wear support hose and perform leg and ankle exercises while on long flights.
What Should I Expect During My Labor and Delivery?
Your labor and delivery can vary a lot depending on where you deliver – whether it’s at a hospital, birthing center, or home. A nurse or provider will perform cervical exams intermittently to determine cervical dilation and effacement. Your healthcare provider may also recommend interventions for your well-being and your baby’s, including IV and fetal monitoring, which will be explained in more detail as the need arises. You’ll also want to review pain management options, like an epidural, so you’ll be able to plan for the options available to you through the various stages of labor.
If you want, you can prepare a birth plan before your delivery, which will help you familiarize yourself with the process.
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