Pregnancy + Parenthood

Essential Preconception Appointment Questions to Ask Your OB/GYN

13 min read
An OBGYN and pregnant patient
An OBGYN and pregnant patient

Article Content

As a science-backed multivitamin and supplement company that’s committed to transparency in information, we’re big on providing answers to the questions we often hear from our customers looking for a prenatal multivitamin.* But there’s one thing even the most thorough of articles can never touch: the value of connecting one-on-one with a trusted OB/GYN.

Ever since Ritual’s Essential Prenatal Multivitamin was formulated, we’ve seen an uptick in questions about planning for pregnancy and early pregnancy. So, we turned to OB/GYN and Ritual Scientific Advisory Board Member Dr. Jason Rothbart, MD, FACOG for answers—and a reminder of the importance of reaching out to your provider when conception and pregnancy questions come up.

What should I expect from a preconception appointment?

Essentially, the goal of a preconception appointment is to take time before trying to conceive to understand what you need to know about conception and how to support a healthy pregnancy. “The preconception appointment is good for discussing ovulation, timing of ovulation, timing of intercourse, diet, exercise expectations—and to discuss your medical history that could affect getting pregnant or will be relevant during pregnancy, and to make a plan,” explains Dr. Rothbart. For some, that plan may include fertility treatment or assisted reproductive technology (like in vitro fertilization). Coming with a list of questions will help you feel prepared.

How much should I be exercising and what kind of workouts should I be doing when trying to conceive?

The frequency and type of exercise that’s best for each person depends on their situation. “If someone exercises regularly, even vigorously, they can continue that,” says Dr. Rothbart. “If someone does not exercise at all, even just walking is helpful.”

Ovulation can be impacted both negatively and positively by exercise. (1) Your healthcare provider can work with you to understand the right exercise rhythm for you.

Should I be taking prenatal multivitamins and/or any other supplements when trying to conceive?

“Prenatal multivitamins are essential,” says Dr. Rothbart. “At a minimum, they should have folate and DHA in them.” Folate, Choline, and Omega-3 DHA support fetal brain development during pregnancy.*

Our experts recommend starting to take prenatal multivitamins at least 1 month before conception. Why so early? A few reasons: 1) It takes time for the body’s nutrient levels to get to the recommended levels 2) the first 28 days of pregnancy are a critical time for fetal development, and 3) people often don’t even realize they’re pregnant until after that 28-day period.* (2)

Ritual’s Essential Prenatal Multivitamin has 12 key nutrients for before and during pregnancy, including an active form of folate (as 5-MTHF Glucosamine Salt) and vegan DHA from algae. Oh, and the lemon-y (or minty) scent makes two daily capsules go down really easy.*

Is there a best time of day to have sex when trying to conceive?

“Any time of day in the ‘ovulation window’ is appropriate,” says Dr. Rothbart. Beyond that, morning sex, afternoon delights, nighttime rendezvous… there’s no difference. Do what feels good.

Hearing about the ovulation window for the first time? There’s a reason Dr. Rothbart talked all about timing in his first answer: For most people, there’s only a 6-day period for conception. Those 6 days include the 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. You may hear about this period as the “ovulation window” or “fertile window”—either way, it’s a window anyone who’s trying to conceive needs to know about. (3)

The 6-day window is reproductive math in action. Once an egg is ovulated from an ovary, it has up to 24 hours before it dies. (4) Sperm can last quite a bit longer: They can survive in the reproductive tract for up to 5 days. If penis-in-vagina sex or insemination happens within the fertile window, both of those time constraints are accounted for.

What ingredients should I look for in a fertility supplement?

While there is no magic formula for fertility, there are supplements that can help support conception outcomes. Dr. Rothbart says “Fertility supplements can be an important piece. CoQ10, vitamin C and D, folic acid, vitamin D are all also very important when thinking about or trying to conceive. Anyone trying to get pregnant could benefit from a fertility supplement.”

Does my age really have an impact on my fertility?

“Age absolutely could impact Fertility as egg quality and quantity decreases with age. If anyone is ever wondering if age could be a factor, they should always check in with their doctor and or a fertility specialist and figure out exactly where Fertility stands.”

Here's a gentle nudge: if you're under 35 and haven't conceived after a year of trying, it's a good idea to connect with your OB-GYN or a reproductive endocrinologist. There are many factors at play, and they can help explore all the possibilities (often, it's not about timing!). For women 35-39, seeking professional guidance after 6 months of trying is recommended. If you're 40 or older, consider reaching out even sooner.

If I’m worried about my fertility, should I be looking into any testing?

“Anyone who has questions about Fertility should talk to their doctor about potentially doing testing. Not everyone needs it, but it is (and should be) available to anyone who wants it. There are timed blood tests and ultrasounds that can tell indirect measurements of ovarian reserve, quantity and quality. Genetic testing definitely should be offered, this tells the couple if they are carriers for many genetic conditions. Some of them are clinically relevant, some of them are not, but for those that are very significant, different further testing options are available.”

What should I be watching and monitoring when TTC?

“Definitely” says Dr. Rothbart. “An ovulation kit can be very helpful when trying to conceive. This helps pinpoint when ovulation will occur which helps guide when to have intercourse.” Ovulation kits detect surges in luteinizing hormone (LH), a key player in egg release. Knowing when you're ovulating helps pinpoint your most fertile days, supporting your chance of conceiving naturally.

Are there any other ways I can support my chances of getting pregnant?

Building a family takes time, and that's okay! According to Dr. Rothbart, the best things you can do when trying to conceive include “a healthy balanced diet, fertility supplements and having open communication with your OB/GYN is important to find out if any testing is wanted or warranted. This all helps create a good plan and everyone is informed with the right knowledge.” Remember, for most healthy couples, conception happens within the first 6 months of trying. We know that waiting can feel frustrating, especially when you're eager to welcome a new family member.

What should I do after a positive pregnancy test?

If you test positive for pregnancy, one of the first things to do is start taking prenatal multivitamins if you haven’t already.* But your first prenatal care visit may still be a ways off. “Usually patients will be seen around what would be 7-8 weeks pregnant. But everybody is different,” explains Dr. Rothbart. “Sometimes the doctor will want to draw some early labs to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.”

We get that the weeks between finding out you’re pregnant and going in for that first appointment can be really stressful. In those times, pregnancy support groups or apps like Poppy Seed Health, which offer on-demand access to pregnancy support professionals, can help you feel seen and validated.

Wherever you are in your journey of trying to get pregnant—whether your preconception appointment is scheduled or you just saw a positive pregnancy test result—your healthcare provider is there for you. Reach out before, between, or after visits to ask your OB/GYN questions or get answers. You deserve a care team that’s in your corner every step of the way.

Remember, prioritizing your well-being throughout this journey is important. We’re here to support your preconception journey for whenever you're ready to welcome new life into this world.


  1. Mussawar, M., Balsom, A. A., Totosy de Zepetnek, J. O., & Gordon, J. L. (2023). The effect of physical activity on fertility: a mini-review. F&S reports, 4(2), 150–158.
  2. Cavalli P. (2008). … proper folate periconceptional supplementation. Journal of prenatal medicine, 2(4), 40–41.
  3. Wilcox, A. J., Dunson, D., & Baird, D. D. (2000). The timing of the "fertile window" in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 321(7271), 1259–1262.
  4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQs: Fertility Awareness-Based Methods of Family Planning. 2019.

Meet the Author

This article was written by our content specialist.

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs, Copywriter and Editor

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs is a New York-based writer and editor of words dealing with reproductive and mental health. She is in the process of getting a master's in community health from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs, Copywriter and Editor

Sarah duRivage-Jacobs is a New York-based writer and editor of words dealing with reproductive and mental health. She is in the process of getting a master's in community health from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.


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