Lessons Learned in Labor and Delivery

There are so many things I would tell our patients if I could just talk to them beforehand. I genuinely wish that every patient out there knows that their healthcare providers stay in obstetrics because we love it. We love them. We love the process.

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Pregnancy is not a disability. Common discomforts of pregnancy do not disable you. Your back may hurt, your hips may hurt, you may extremely exhausted, and you may not feel 100% like yourself. But most pregnant people can and should still work, be active, and continue to live their lives like they did prior to their pregnancy, minus any smoking and alcohol consumption.

Appreciate the ones at the bedside. Try to appreciate anyone at your bedside. If it’s your nurse, know that she’s there to take care of you and tend to all your needs. If it’s your family, know that you will need them after delivery, so you should be especially kind to them now!

Educate yourself prior to delivery. All women should make informed decisions. This doesn’t mean you should google your way to frightening answers, but it does mean that you seek out answers to whatever questions you have. As silly as it sounds, write down your questions, because you will not remember them once you’re in your OB or midwife’s office. Don’t let people scare you with their stories. Information you receive should be complete, accurate, and most importantly, up-to-date.

You have the right to ask questions. When you’re in the hospital, it can be a foreign feeling. You’re allowing other people to take care of you and your unborn baby, so sometimes you may feel like you don’t want to imposition your providers or look dumb by asking too many questions. But if you do not know why someone is doing something, you should be asking questions. That’s you being a competent adult.

Know that we don’t know what you’re thinking. It may seem like we know everything that’s about to happen and we may answer many of your questions when we talk to you and your family, but don’t forget that we can’t read your mind. If you want pain medicine and we haven’t offered any, just ask. If you want to know if you can get out of bed to move around, just ask. No question is too silly, and we’ve heard a lot of things!

Your physician or midwife may be better or worse than you think. The most important thing that women can do is to ask a lot of questions, and ask them as early into your pregnancy as possible. It’s harder to change providers the further along you are, so if you don’t like the answer your provider is giving you, or if you don’t think they’re taking your concerns seriously, change providers. If I really want to know which provider to choose, I try to ask nurses that work with them “who do you go to?” Nurses aren’t able to recommend one particular provider, but I bet they wouldn’t go to one that they didn’t like or trust!

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Don’t act like you know everything. We know you don’t. So don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, ask questions, or just ask for more education. No one will think that you’re incompetent.

You have the right to say no. You don’t have to do anything someone tells you to do. You’re an adult, and it’s your baby. But I would never just say no. I would always ask what the intention behind it is. You can also literally ask what are my options?

You will not remember this moment in its entirety. No matter how much you think you will remember every moment, you will not. Eventually, it will all become a blur, and you will remember bits and pieces.

Be kind to his mom. I’m not saying this is always easy, but as someone who has seen a lot of births, my advice is to always be kind to his mother. And for anyone out there that doesn’t have a boy, I can tell you something for nothing—boys love their mommas! Take a step back and remember that this is her grandchild. Allow her to be a part of as much of the delivery as you can.

Everyone wants a healthy mom and baby. Above all, know that we all want a healthy mom and baby. We all want our moms to take their babies home at discharge. None of us come to work and hope for a baby that needs resuscitation or a NICU admission or a mom who needed any kind of intervention.

Until my next delivery ❤


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