Friday, August 19, 2016

10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor In The Last Month of Pregnancy

I get asked all the time for the signs and signals of labors and what to expect. Sadly, even I don't recognize when I am in labor. With Mason, I was induced and never went into "spontaneous labor". And with Collin, I did as any expectant momma does and went to the hospital way too early only to get sent home. The next day, when I was actually in labor, I was in denial about it because I didn't want to be sent home again. I wanted to make sure it was the real deal. Well, Collin was born 35 minutes after I arrived at the hospital. That is a little too close!

But you better believe, as a momma to be with baby #3, I am still going to be asking most of these questions because...EVERY LABOR IS DIFFERENT! Check out my 10 questions you should ask your doc, with a little explanation on them from what I learned but CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR on what rules they have because every practice is different and ever circumstance is different.

1. What should I do if I think I am in labor? 

There are many different ways it feels like you are in labor. And sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions. Find out if there is an after hour number for your doctor's office to call. Put it in your phone! Show your birth partner how to find it in your phone too because you might not be able to do it if you are in the heat of labor! Ask if you should call the office first or go straight to the hospital. Or call the hospital. You need to know where to go and what to do and how to get ahold of your doctor or the on call doctor.

2. At what point should I go to the hospital?

Each doctor is different and the distance from your house to the hospital and what number baby this is can change the answer. There are a few rules that some doctors say, the 5:1:1, 4:1:1 or 3:1:1 rule. The first number in each set is if contractions are 5, 4 or 3 minutes apart. The second number is for how long the contraction is last for. The last number is how long the contractions have held this pattern. So if a doc says that they want you to go to the hospital following the 4:1:1 rule it would be read as, You are having contractions every 4 minutes, lasting a minute long for a whole hour. With Collin when I did finally go into labor by the time we were going in, I was 2:45:45. So I was having contractions every 2 minutes lasting for only 45 seconds for the last 45 minutes. We had to go to the hospital in rush hour traffic and it took us 45 min to get there. And again, Collin was born 35 minutes after we arrived (they broke my water right away too).

3. Is ______ normal?

Is extra vaginal discharge normal? Is this smell normal? What's the difference between bloody show and extra vaginal discharge? Are my boobs supposed to be crusty or leaking? Is it normal to have extra pressure? Feel like I have to pee every 10 minutes? Is it normal not to have a bowel movement for a couple of days? Is it normal for a bowel movement to hurt? Any of these questions you want to ask. Because at some point you are going to wonder.

4. Will I really have a bowel movement during labor?

This is one of those questions that no one really wants to talk about but hey SH%T happens! Especially when in labor. The uterus is applying pressure on your rectum and when you push, well, sometimes your rectum gets squeezed too. Like a toothpaste tube. It just happens. Often you won't even know when it happens. The docs and nurses are very private about it, unless you have my doc who has told me both times just to be silly (yes I still love him!), but normally you won't know it. But ask your doc about it. Because it can be scary and seem embarrassing, but honestly when you are at that point that sh%t happens you are going to be right at the end of your pushing stage and about to deliver and modesty and decorum are the last thing to matter!

5. How do Braxton Hicks contractions feel different than actual labor?

This is different for everyone. For me mine feel different because I have two different types of Braxton Hicks contractions, upper belly pains and lower belly pains. When they are combined then that is the feeling of labor for me. But there are some moms that don't have any Braxton Hicks, and some that have them so strong it is hard to tell. Ask your doc.

6. Will I be able to get my body back to how it was before baby and how long will it take get my body back after baby?

This varies for EVERY MOM! Including celebrities. General rule of thumb is it took 9 months to get this way it can take 9 months or more to get back. Or if you are like Diary of a fit mom or my sister in law, it can take less than a month. It all depends on your body, how much weight you gained, how much you exercised/exercise postpartum. And such. And just to put this out there...Don't not rely on breastfeeding to help you lose all your weight. I didn't lose 1 pound breastfeeding until I seriously made changes to my diet.

7. Where do I go when I arrive at the hospital?

Depending on when you go into labor might determine where in the hosptial you go in. For me, at night, I have to go to the ER then I will be taken to the Labor and Delivery Wing. During the day I go straight to Labor and Delivery and walk the mile long hallway that never ends!

8. What papers/documents should I bring to the hospital?

Make sure you have your hospital pre-registration card with you if you given one. Having your insurance card, drivers license or picture ID too. These are things to make sure you have ready to go in your wallet and in your purse by the door so your hubs or you can grab it quick. Also if you have a birth plan, pack that in your bag too. I actually have a little 5 star pocket folder that I put my birth plan in and keep with me becuase you will be given a lot of paperwork from the hospital and some to fill out after baby arrives at home to send off to Social Security and request for the baby's birth certificate.

9. How do I know if my water broke or if it is just pee or a slow leak.

I have heard that some mom to be's have a hard time knowing when their water breaks. For both of my labors, my water was broken and MAN DID I KNOW IT! And after it was broken I would have a gush of water with each contraction. But ask your doctor what the difference would be. Is there a smell. How to tell if there is a slow leak or if it is just urinary incontinence. The other question to ask is how soon do I get to the hospital if my water breaks at home or out and about? I asked this question when I was pregnant with Mason just before we were going on our Baby Moon 3 hours north in DC for the weekend. I remember my doc said that labor takes a long time for the first baby and that I would have plenty of time to get home and to the hospital if my water broke. Well, with Mason, he was born only 3.5 hours after they broke my water. Collin was born 35 minutes after my water was broken. So honestly you never know how long it will take! (I am thinking that this one will be born 3.5 minutes after my water is broken! Just fits the freaky pattern)

10. What will labor really be like? What should I expect?

This is not a silly question to ask. Do not go into labor not know what is going on. You have a right to know what is going ot happen. What could happen. Best and worse case scenarios. Your doctor will probably be honest with you and tell you what to expect. Ask at what point would they recommend you start pitocin if you labor stalled. When they recommend getting an epidural. What will happen if you don't have the baby within a certain time frame. What is that time frame that they doctor goes by to determine a good labor pattern. The pain of it. The burning sensation of the ring of fire. ASK. The doctors go through labor every single day. And sometimes they forget that this is your first time, or that you might experience different things this time around. I even asked my doc at the last appointment, should we expect this labor to be similar to Collin's? He said, NOPE! Every labor is different. The pushing and the outcome is the same but the process is all different. Ask what c-section recovery is like. Will you feel pain. What to expect with that too!

So. Ask your questions MOMS! Do your research. Have the questions already written down so you know what to ask. Take a pen and paper with you to write the answers down or have your birth partner with you so that you don't forget something. I always make it a point to ask at least 1 question at every appointment. Because I want to know. If you don't want to know the answers to these or other questions that is your choice too. You can go into labor totally blind, but know that labor is not always what it is shown like on TV or movies. It can be totally different. Often movie and TV depicitions of labor are speed up because labor can be a long time, a lot of sitting and waiting, or horrible consistent pains for hours or days.

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