7 Questions To Ask at Your First Prenatal Visit

Best to know now than to be surprised later… these are the most important questions to ask at your first prenatal visit.

7 questions to ask at your first prenatal visit

They say life happens while we’re making plans, and this super applies to birth.

And yet, if we know where our birth support team stands on different issues, we can make realistic plans a little easier, for different choices we might have to make.

When we understand our choices in different situations – “if this, then this” – we can get clearer on how we want to respond to what happens.

OR, we might decide we want to be working with a different set of choices, if something’s a deal breaker.

Here are 7 questions to ask at your first prenatal visit to make sure you’re on the same page as your birth support team…


Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #1:

How long can I go past my due date before induction?

1-2 weeks with fetal assessment is ideal since science is now showing that first pregnancies on average go until 41 weeks.

This is an important one because about 30% of Cesareans are failed inductions.

Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #2:

How would you feel if I were working with a doula

Of course – births often go better when there’s someone there to support you emotionally. Studies show they can help you avoid an unplanned Cesarean, births are shorter, and moms feel more empowered when they have someone trainined to help them through every stage.

If that’s fine, follow up with: any you like to work with?


Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #3:

Can I get in the shower during labor? 

A midwife I know calls it “magic water” – it washed away even the pain of back labor for me, which was pretty intense.


Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #4:

If I choose to use epidural anesthesia, how long can I push for before Cesarean birth is performed? 

At least 4 hours is preferable.


Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #5:

Will I need an episiotomy? 

Only if necessary.

When should I arrive at the hospital? 

When you are 6-9 centimeters. How do you know this? The 411 rule: only go to the hospital when your contractions are coming regularly 4 minutes apart, each one lasts at least 1 minute, and they have been following this pattern for at least 1 hour.


Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #6:

Will you be going out of town near my due date? 


If they might be, follow up with: 

Can I meet with your partners just in case?

Questions to ask at your first prenatal visit #7:

I’d like to walk around and change positions during labor.

Can I forego the IV if everything is within normal limits?


If it’s no, you’ll be on an IV, follow up with:

I read that there’s an alternative to an IV – a heparin or saline lock attached to your IV catheter (the part that’s inserted into the vein)? This way I could get fluids or medications whenever I need them, but I won’t have to be tethered to an IV pole in the meantime. Possible?


If you feel fine about the answers you get, you get to trust your are getting the best care possible for you.

If anything leaves you feeling even a little uncomfortable with the responses you get, maybe have a chat with a couple other caregivers until you feel fully understood, respected and nurtured.

If it really didn’t go well, consider a different kind of provider. Midwives are trained to do everything an Ob/Gyn does, except surgery. But they’re perspective on birth is very different. Whereas doctors are generally trained in preventing and handling negative outcomes, midwives are trained in supported the body’s natural ability to birth your baby.

7 questions to ask at your first prenatal visit

Over the years, I’ve learned that no matter how birth goes, there’s only one thing that causes regret: when we didn’t listen to that wise, clear, wise voice inside.

Keep asking these questions until you find the perfect fit.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly how we’re feeling, and hear that quiet inner knowing.

For this, prenatal yoga can really help.

You’ll be guided to use your breath to listen to that “inner GPS”. 

You can have a beautiful, safe birth in a hospital, a birth center, or at home, as long as you have the birth support team that’s right for you.

Thank you for spreading the Ma love!

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