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First Doctor’s Appointment

firstdoctorappointment.jpgI had my first doctor’s appointment yesterday. For me, this was no small feat. I have a phobia of doctors. Not just a minor fear, or “don’t like going,” but all-out anxiety attacks for days before.

I said to my husband, “I don’t think I really thought this through. I’m fine with having the baby, but I don’t know if I can stand nine months of doctor visits.” Even typing this blog, my hands are starting to shake and my stomach feels queasy. (No, it’s not morning sickness).

Fortunately, I’ve found a doctor (one out of six in the office!) who makes me feel very comfortable. We think along the same wavelength, and she listens to me?not just my concerns and questions, but my feelings.

I figure having a baby will be the best thing to alleviate my phobia. Or, as my obstetrician joked, “You’ll either get over it, or it will kill you or us!”

Finding such an understanding, competent doctor didn’t make the anxiety go away, but it helped. When the exam was over, I learned that the baby is healthy, growing well, and it’s normal for me to be outgrowing my regular clothes already.

I was too nervous to ask many questions, but I’m going to arrive at my next appointment with a list.

What questions should you ask during your first appointment, or at least early on in your pre-natal care?

  • Ask what pre-natal vitamins the doctor recommends?sometimes, they will provide free samples. (I left with so many boxes of samples, it covered the cost of my co-pay!)
  • Ask about any OTC medicines you may have taken or might need to take (if you have a cold or allergy medicine you rely on, it’s better to ask now?and to ask about alternatives?than to be wondering at 3 AM when you wake up sneezing.)
  • Discuss your rate of weight gain with the doctor. If you’re gaining too quickly, perhaps she can recommend some nutritional changes that will help. Even if the doctor says you’re gaining too quickly, don’t try to lose weight while you’re pregnant!
  • Discuss any exercise programs you are currently doing, how long it will be safe to continue, or any programs you may be thinking about starting.
  • Discuss pre-natal screening and tests recommended and when they should be done. (Remember, you have the right to refuse any test).
  • Ask about any and all symptoms you may have, including soreness, spotting, aches, pains, nausea, etc. Chances are, they are nothing to worry about, but letting the doctor know will put your mind at ease. Also, she may be able to offer something to alleviate your discomfort.

I’m sure you’ll have your own questions that I didn’t even think of. Write them down before your appointment so you don’t forget, like I did the first time! (You can also use the sheet of paper to jot down the doctor’s answers if she makes specific recommendations.)

Look at your monthly doctor’s appointments as a time of education and preparation for the big day. Even if you’re like me and suffer anxiety over going to the doctor, being prepared with specific goals and objectives in mind will make it feel less like torture and more like the important part of pregnancy that it is!

This information is provided a patient’s perspective and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your medical practitioner.

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