Yay! The third trimester! It's a pregnancy milestone that is so exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Along with having your baby shower and getting the nursery ready, you also need to think about some of the more serious stuff too. This is the time to start thinking about important questions for your OBGYN.
You've probably had a number of interactions with you OBGYN at this point in your pregnancy. You may have even come up with some really important questions for your OBGYN and had conversations about them since the beginning of your pregnancy. This is great!
But now that you're in the home stretch, let's talk about some other important questions for our OBGYN that you might not have thought of or wanted to discuss just yet.
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Questions to ask your provider in pregnancy
These 10 important questions for your OBGYN are actually great questions for any provider that is taking care of you during your pregnancy. If you are anticipating a Midwife taking care of you, these questions should still be answered.
The best thing that you can do for yourself in pregnancy and prior to labor is get educated. This is just one of the ways that you can educate yourself so that you can be as prepared as possible for one of the most important days of your lives.
So, let's talk!
1. When can I go on maternity leave? What do I need to know?
Once you are in the third trimester, maternity leave is right around the corner. Although it might feel like an eternity away, start figuring out what the process is for getting taken off of work.
The standard time when most mothers are taken off work is at 36 weeks gestation. This time can change depending on your pregnancy condition and your provider's policy.
Talk to your doctor about what you need to do to prepare to get taken off work and what paper work needs to be filed so that nothing gets delayed for logistical reasons.
2. At what facilities do you have privileges?
You've probably been in the care of your doctor for months now but the question might still remain. “Where can I go to deliver”? There are a few factors that might affect the answer to this question.
Your provider might have privileges at multiple hospitals or locations. That means that they have the right to practice medicine at these separate locations and you might have the option to choose which one you go to.
Even if your insurance covers a number of different hospitals in your area, if you hope for your doctor to attend your delivery, make sure you know that the hospital that you want to deliver at is one of the places that your provider has privileges.
3. Who will deliver me?
So, you find out your pregnant, you choose a doctor that you trust, you develop a relationship with that provider and that provider sees you through your entire pregnancy. Then, you finally get to the finish line and you're in labor getting ready to deliver your baby! Yay! But who is this stranger with the gloves on?
Believe it or not, just because you've chosen your doctor or midwife, developed a relationship with them and found out where they have privileges, your doctor still may not be the one to deliver your baby.
Depending on the facility you deliver at and whether or not you have hired a private doctor, your doctor may not be there when you give birth.
Find out if the hospital that you will be delivering at is a teaching hospital. If it is, you may be graced with the presence of interns, residents, and even family practice doctors (aka NOT OBGYNs) to deliver your baby.
Even if the hospital is not a teaching hospital, if it is a community hospital or a hospital that employs MDs to be on-call for 24 hours, you might have the “on-call” doctor deliver your baby as opposed to your own doctor.
In these instances, you either need to get really lucky and go into labor on a day that your provider is on-call or you will need to be scheduled for induction or C-section on a day that your provider is working.
Long story short, ask your doctor who will be delivering you and what options you have.
4. What is your policy on photo and video during labor and delivery?
Do you envision an album full of beautiful, sentimental photos of your labor and birth? Have you instructed your partner to make sure to capture the emotion of the birth on video?
Well if you plan on having photo or video in the labor and delivery room, ask your doctor what his/her policy is on the subject. Of course, they can't stop you from taking pictures and videos when they aren't in the room but some providers restrict all camera use while they are present.
It seems crazy, I know. I hate when I see this. But unfortunately, it's true.
Make sure you and your provider are on the same page about you capturing your memories on film.
- Related Read: My Unmedicated Childbirth and The Secrets Behind It
5. How will the health of my baby affect labor and delivery?
Throughout your pregnancy, if you have received information that your baby might be affected by any diagnosis, make sure that your doctor discusses with you what this means for you during labor and birth.
Sometimes, depending on your baby's size or health, there might be the NICU team in the room or more nurses at your bedside. Depending on the diagnosis and prognosis of baby at birth, intermittent monitoring, delayed cord clamping or immediate skin to skin might be avoided or affected.
Of all of the questions for your obgyn, this one might be the most difficult to answer. It's hard to predict exactly how your baby will respond to labor and birth but it's still important to try to understand what to expect.
6. How will my medical history affect my labor and birth?
Your own medical history can drastically affect your labor and birth experience. Talk to your doctor at a prenatal appointment prior to labor about how your diagnoses will affect the decisions that might be made in your labor.
Depending on what's going on with your health, you might need certain medications in labor, and induction of labor, or closer watch during the process.
A few examples are:
- Positive for GBS infection – IV antibiotic infusions around the clock until delivery.
- Gestational Hypertension or Preeclampsia – induction of labor and/or frequent blood pressure checks.
- Gestational diabetes mellitus – induction of labor and/or frequent blood sugar checks and/or possible IV insulin infusion.
Talk to your doctor about these possibilities during one of your appointments together so that you aren't caught off guard when the time comes.
7. What is your method / what is your stance?
This is one of the important questions for your obgyn that you'll actually have to finish for yourself. Depending on what is important to you, the way you finish this question will be different.
Ask your provider what their method or stance is on different topics in labor and delivery. What do they usually do? What is their go-to way about things? How do they feel about different interventions?
For example, if you have an opinion about episiotomies vs naturally tearing, you should know what your OBGYN's method or stance is when it comes to that subject.
A few more examples that you might want to discuss with your doctor are:
- Cord clamping
- Delivering the placenta
- Potential hemorrhage management
- Intermittent monitoring
- Pushing/delivery positions
- Eating and drinking in labor
- Vacuum extraction
- Induction and Augmentation
8. Do you routinely use interventions in labor or do you wait until there is an indication?
Labor and delivery is a tricky situation sometimes.
Some providers have a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to managing a laboring mother.
Although doctors have the best intentions, sometimes when they use interventions routinely for every patient, laboring mothers end up with interventions that they never actually needed.
Talk to your doctor about the interventions that they perform or order for all of their patients. Typical interventions that many doctors do for everyone that you might want to ask about are:
- Cervical exams every two hours
- IV fluids given on admission and continuously throughout labor
- Continuous fetal monitoring starting on admission and continuing until birth
- Rupture of membranes (breaking the water) at a certain cervical dilation
- IV Pitocin given immediately after birth
Some of these interventions are needed for some mothers. Talk to your doctor about when and why they resort to certain interventions so that you can be sure you are receiving the care that you need and not receiving “one size fits all” care.
Discuss options with your provider regarding individualized care.
9. Who do I call if I have questions about labor?
Towards the end of your pregnancy, you might have questions about the symptoms that you're having. You might even need advice on whether or not you are in labor and need to come into the hospital.
Ask your doctor who it is that you'll need to contact if you start having signs of labor or concerns about your pregnancy in the final weeks.
Your doctor might provide you with their number, the number to their office, or the number for the labor and delivery unit in the hospital. Either way, just make sure you know who to contact when you need assistance or advice.
- Related Read: 21 Helpful Pieces of Labor Advice for First Time Moms
10. How do you feel / What do you think about my birth plan?
This one is probably the most important and most overlooked of all of the questions for your OBGYN.
When writing a birth plan, it is important that you get your provider's input.
You, of course, are the one making decisions for yourself. But you want to be smart and well-informed when it comes to what make sense to put on your birth plan from a medical standpoint.
Your doctor will be able to help you decide if what you have on your birth plan is reasonable or even possible considering your health, the policies of the hospital you plan to deliver at, etc.
The last thing you want is to create a birth plan full of things that get thrown out the window as soon as you arrive to labor and delivery because you didn't consider important factors regarding your specific situtation.
Your provider can help you with that. Just ask him/her to go over your birth plan at one of your final prenatal appointments.
Questions for Your Doctor
I hope this list of questions for your OBGYN was helpful for you to sort out your thoughts in the final weeks of your pregnancy. Keep in mind that these aren't all of the questions that you need to be asking your provider. They are just important questions that you need answers to in the home stretch.
Have a list of questions for your doctor throughout your entire pregnancy and ask them as they come up. Asking questions and keeping your provider in the loop will help build a relationship and foster trust between the two of you. A good relationship with your pregnancy provider is invaluable.
What other questions did you have in the third trimester? Let me know in the comments!
What To Read Next:
- How and Why to Start Counting Baby Kicks in the Third Trimester
- Timing Labor Contractions: How To Know for Sure That it's Time to Go To the Hospital
- 25 Ways to Prepare for Labor and Delivery for a Better Birth Experience
- Your Complete Pregnancy Checklist Before You Deliver
- The Pregnancy Glucose Test: What You Should Know Before You Test
- A Prayer for Pregnancy Through Every Stage of Creating Life