Happy and excited yet anxious and scared – you might be overwhelmed with many emotions right now. After all, there is a new life inside you now, and you have to carry a big responsibility of prenatal care too. Pregnancy is a tricky period, and you might feel clueless for the months to come. There might be a lot of questions in your mind too. The best person to ask for guidance is your doctor, as they have both knowledge and experience. Your healthcare provider can monitor your pregnancy’s progress and give you personalized advice whenever needed. They can also catch on to specific pregnancy symptoms and instruct you on handling delicate situations during pregnancy and childbirth.
Here are a few critical questions you should ask your doctor right away:
1. How Serious are the Risks Related to a C-Section?
A Cesarean section (C-section) is a significant surgery whereby the child is delivered through an incision made through the mother’s abdomen. While vaginal births are often preferred, sometimes C-sections are medically necessary. Yet, like any other serious surgery, it has potential risks for both mother and the child. For the mother, the risks might include uncontrolled or excessive bleeding, internal organ damage, and infection. The concerns related to the child include cerebral palsy, in which case the hospital or doctor can be sued for cerebral palsy medical malpractice. Other complications may include the development of blood clots, lung and heart complications, and lacerated bowls. All these can result in lifetime medical issues or, in even serious cases, death. Ask your health provider to explain each risk in detail. Your doctor should be able to explain the procedures and treatments to follow in each possible surgery outcome.
2. What should I do to prevent pregnancy discomforts?
Your body is trying to make more room for your baby. In this process, your organs get pushed to the side, and your body undergoes several hormonal fluctuations. You would notice visible changes such as your breasts enlarging and becoming firmer. Breast pain is often the first symptom of pregnancy. It is experienced around the third week but reaches its peak near the third trimester. You might also experience pregnancy fatigue and nausea, which can be hard on your back and stomach. Moreover, the trouble of frequent urination can be accompanied by dehydration.
Your health provider can suggest lifestyle changes to reduce the level of discomfort. For instance, your doctor can draft a diet for you and offer some exercises to relieve pain. Sometimes, doctors prescribe pain medicine to pregnant women. You can ask your healthcare provider for medications as well.
3. What tests or screenings do I need?
You might have to undergo some tests for your baby’s development examination. A sonogram-producing ultrasound is one of the most common tests you might have already had. Your doctor might suggest getting another ultrasound close to delivery if they suspect issues related to your baby’s positioning in the womb. Your doctor might also ask you to get blood work done or recommend non-stress, and contraction stress tests to monitor the fetus’s heart rate.
Screenings are tests used to identify a higher chance of a health problem in the fetus. Screening tests are not a hundred percent accurate and can sometimes show false positives. Despite this, they can equip you with information that could change the course of treatment for your baby – before and after birth. Depending on your and your partner’s family history, your doctor might suggest some disease or genetic screenings. Remember, screening tests might lead to making some difficult decisions, and getting these tests are a choice only you can make.
4. What are the Symptoms of Preterm Labor?
A healthy pregnancy lasts for forty weeks; however, sometimes, the baby can come unexpectedly early before completing the normal gestation period. Preterm labor or premature birth can occur after twenty weeks. Although the specific cause of preterm labor is unknown, it occurs when the cervix opens due to regular contractions. Premature birth can lead to the child being born weak, underweight, and with underdeveloped lungs. Premature birth significantly increases the risk of birth injuries for the baby. Prematurely born children often show slow childhood growth and fall sick easily too.
Certain risk factors increase the chance of going into labor prematurely; however, preterm labor can occur even without risk factors. It is why you should ask your doctor about the symptoms of premature labor. Being vigilant and prepared, you can rush to the hospital if you suspect you are going into labor prematurely.
5. How Do I Know That I Am Really In labor?
If your pregnancy is healthy and you are not going into preterm labor, you might have to wait over thirty-seven weeks to deliver. But every pregnancy is different, and the average delivery time might not apply to you. Your doctor can estimate your labor time depending on your health.
In movies, water breaking is used to show as the first sign of a pregnant woman going into labor. But in real life, water breaking is one of the last signs. In fact, water breaking occurs naturally only in about fifteen percent of births. Compared to water breaking, contractions are a better indication of childbirth. Near delivery, your contractions will become intense and more evenly spaced. Each labor contraction can last from thirty seconds to seventy seconds. If your contractions seem to be labor, you should head to the hospital.
It is easy to worry and confuse general contractions with labor contractions. Here, your health provider can save you from untimely panic by teaching you how to distinguish between a false alarm and an actual one.
6. What are the risks associated with induction of labor?
Induction of labor is a way of artificially initiating childbirth. There might be many medical reasons to induce labor artificially, such as post-term pregnancy, risk of stillbirth, too little amniotic fluid around the baby, or uterine infection. Some women request an elective labor induction for a variety of reasons too. For example, the pregnant woman might live far away from the birthing center and wants to prevent unattended childbirth. For this reason, she could ask for labor induction.
Using artificial means of childbirth often comes with more significant risks. Your healthcare provider can walk you through all the risks associated with labor induction. If you have all the information beforehand, you can make informed decisions.
Do not hesitate to ask your doctor any and every question that comes to your mind. It’s better to be prepared before the last minute than be clueless in the face of a hurricane. With the answers from your healthcare provider, you will feel more prepared for the days coming your way. These vulnerable nine months can seem like an eternity before you meet your baby. But with proper guidance, you can ensure your pregnancy is comfortable. When you finally meet your baby, it is in the best circumstances – happy and healthy.