Top questions to ask a midwife

Pregnancy | | Louise Broadbridge

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Having a baby? So many questions you just don’t know where to start or what you actually need to know? Don’t worry here are The Honest Midwife’s top 10 questions to ask on your first appointment.

1. What appointments will I have throughout my pregnancy?

Your initial appointment with your midwife is usually your booking appointment which will last around an hour. Your midwife will ask you lots of questions about your health and wellbeing to ascertain the best care for your individual circumstances. It may be worth asking your partner to ensure that they know about any significant family history that may be relevant. Your midwife will ask your permission to take some blood and this will determine lots of things such as your blood type and starting iron levels.

Later on in your pregnancy you will be offered two routine scans, one at around 12 weeks and the second at 20 weeks and these appointment dates will be scheduled after this initial appointment.

Depending on what your midwife learns about your medical history will often determine what future appointment you have and who they will be with so, “What appointments will I have and when is a great first question”

2. What changes should I make to my lifestyle?

By the time your booking appointment has arrived you will probably already have undertaken some research of your own regarding what you can and cannot eat or drink and, if you are a smoker you will hopefully have stopped smoking or be trying to cut down. You may also want to discuss your current exercise regime with your midwife just to check if the level of activity you are undertaking is appropriate for your circumstance. In most cases women are advised that they can continue with their existing workout plans but stay within your comfort zone.

3. Can I still have sex in pregnancy?

This may be the first time in your life that you have ever felt the need to ask questions about your personal life with a complete stranger. Don’t worry! Us midwives have heard it all before (and more). Sex during pregnancy is again, usually considered to be safe but just ask your midwife, just in case there are any concerns regarding your pregnancy.

4. I am really struggling with morning sickness - is there anything I can do?

Morning sickness can make the first few weeks of pregnancy pretty miserable and in extreme cases doesn’t just contain itself to the first trimester. A few women really do suffer the whole way through. Although some degree of morning sickness can be brushed off as being just part and parcel of growing a baby, extreme morning sickness can be really debilitating and should be discussed with your midwife or doctor. There are medications that can be taken to reduce the symptoms or severity and these should be considered if sickness is extreme.

5. During the pandemic what are the current rules for birth partners and visitors?

Despite hoping that the pandemic would, by now, be a distant memory, we are still living in uncertain times and at this special time of expanding your family it is understandable that you want your birth partner to be with you. All hospital trusts have their own rules regarding visitors and this is largely governed by local infection rates. So, ask your midwife what the current policy is but anticipate that things may change as the weeks pass.

6. How will I know when my labour has started?

Even if this is not your first baby, the run up to labour day can leave even the most experienced of mothers doubting that they will know what to do when the big day arrives! Try not to worry; our bodies have an amazing ability to guide us as our baby makes its way into the world. However, feeling prepared can really help us to trust in our bodies and also to navigate situations which may take us away from what we expected. Don’t forget you can sign up for a free Midwife Led antenatal class at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby which will make sure that nothing comes as a surprise. Learn more here

7. I am considering a home birth, is that possible?

The quick answer to this is that anything is possible. However, there will be a few things that your midwife will want you to consider. Firstly, what is going on in your pregnancy and are there any circumstances that would suggest you may need to have a doctor on hand during labour. If your pregnancy is slightly higher in risk you may wish to ask for an appointment with your consultant to discuss the pros and cons of a home birth to see what the best option is for you and your baby.

8. I would like to go on holiday before my baby arrives, is this OK?

A little break away before your baby arrives can be just the ticket to rest those swollen ankles and lots of women do enjoy an overseas trip whilst pregnant. It is really important that you check out any specific rules that your airline or travel company may have regarding travelling whilst pregnant and you may also need a letter from your GP stating that you are fit to travel. When asked, your midwife will be able to advise you on any areas that should be avoided due to your pregnancy.

9. I have a history of anxiety, is there anything that can be put in place to help?

It is so important that you chat with your midwife regarding any concerns you may have around your mental wellbeing. Although it is often difficult to talk about these things, midwives are well trained to be able to support you and signpost you to additional support if it is needed. Historically, woman have worried that if they mention any previous episodes that they will be treated differently and judged. This really isn’t the case. There are specialist midwifery teams set up within hospitals to really support you and to ensure you are able to talk about how you are feeling so that you and your baby have the best start together.

10. Who do I contact if I am worried about anything?

Many midwives work part time hours so, although you may be given your midwives work mobile number, that doesn’t always mean you will be able to get an immediate answer. It is really important that you have the right contact numbers for any times when you are worried about your own or your baby’s wellbeing. So it is absolutely fine to ask your midwife for the telephone number to ring at times when you need to speak to a midwife about a non-routine issue.