There are important questions you will want to ask your doctor during your last month of pregnancy. Many of these questions may be the same ones you asked at your first prenatal visit.
The questions will be similar because they are the questions that matter most to you, especially about your labor and delivery.
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It is important to ask these questions at your first prenatal visit to identify any differences you may have with your provider when it comes to beliefs about the labor and delivery process.
The questions which will be discussed in this article need to be addressed during the last month of pregnancy. The reason for this is because the scheduling information for your labor and delivery will be available.
Information about what days the doctors in your medical practice are on call. The hospital also releases what days are available for scheduled inductions and repeat cesarean sections.
10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor During Your Last Month Of Pregnancy:
1. You will want to ask the office staff if your doctor’s labor and delivery schedule has been completed?
During the last month of pregnancy, many expectant mothers like to know who will be covering labor and delivery, especially in a large group medical practice. Patients are aware their doctor may not deliver their baby but most every patient still wants to know when their provider may be at the hospital.
Medical practices will typically make call schedules only a few months in advance and this is why you will want to ask as you approach your due date.
It is hard to make a schedule for a women’s health medical practice too far in advance because there are many variables:
- Booking Surgical Procedures
- Office Visit Coverage
- Labor and Delivery Coverage
- Time off after working all night
- Vacation coverage
2. Do I need an anesthesia consultation?
You should have a consult if you have a medical condition such as a heart condition, a prior back injury, scoliosis or any of a number of medical illnesses that might limit your anesthesia options.
Meeting at the hospital with a member of the anesthesia staff gives the pain management physicians an opportunity to talk to you and learn about your medical history before you come into the hospital in active labor.
They will let you know what anesthesia options you have and what is safest given your particular situation.
If you take the time to meet with anesthesia before you come to the hospital in labor, they will also have a record about you filled out in their department. They far prefer this approach to your pain management than having to consult with you about a medical problem when you are in active labor.
Best of all you will know what to expect when you arrive at the hospital.
You may have discussed the need for anesthesia consult early in your pregnancy.
It is worth mentioning it again near your due date to be sure there are no issues that may have come up requiring an anesthesia consult.
This advice is not only for expectant moms who are planning to have an epidural.
Having an anesthesia consult is advised even if you plan to have no pain medication during your labor and delivery.
The consult will give the anesthesia staff an opportunity to review your medical history and be prepared should you require anesthesia for a cesarean section. Having a consult is a precaution.
3. Am I registered at the hospital?
If you have a question about hospital pre-registration, your prenatal provider will likely have the answer.
The paperwork you submitted to the hospital very early during your pregnancy, was completed early to make sure your paperwork is in the admitting office when you arrive in labor.
Checking with the hospital, to be sure that paperwork has been received and has been filed properly is good practice to avoid any delays.
4. Are lactation services available at the office?
If you are planning to breastfeed, many office practices have a staff nurse who has special training in lactation services.
Ask the office staff about lactation support and how care is transferred from the hospital lactation consultant to the office, to ensure a smooth transition once you are discharged home.
Taking a breastfeeding course before your delivery can be helpful if you are a first-time mom or if you have anxiety related to difficulty with breastfeeding in the past.
We believe that The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology is an amazing online course to help you prepare for breastfeeding. The course is taught by a certified lactation educator.
Breastfeeding is not always easy, it isn’t unusual to have supply issues or other difficulties.
Education and support can help you be successful with breastfeeding.
Preparing before you have your baby will give you a jumpstart on what to expect and how to handle issues when they arise.
5. When will I be seen for my postpartum visits?
- Routine postpartum follow-up visits for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery is 6 weeks after delivery.
- If you have a c-section or complicated vaginal delivery, your follow-up visit to the office will be scheduled accordingly. You may have a visit as early as a few days to 2 weeks. You will still have the same routine visit 6 weeks after delivery.
- If you have a medical problem that may require earlier postpartum follow-up, you will want to discuss this with your prenatal provider. If it is a chronic problem, your care will be coordinated with or transitioned to your primary care provider after you have had your 6-week postpartum visit.
6. Can I book weekly appointments as I approach my due date?
When you are in the last month of your pregnancy, you will definitely want to book weekly appointments as far in advance as possible.
It is also a good idea to book an appointment after your due date if you have not delivered within one week of your due date.
You can always call the office from the hospital if this appointment needs to be canceled.
If you book appointments only one week ahead, you are less likely to get the time of day that best fits your schedule.
7. When can I schedule my repeat cesarean section?
If you are having a scheduled cesarean section (repeat or because it medically indicated), it can be scheduled by your doctor. This can be done once the office on-call and surgery schedules are in the books.
Most often your doctor will schedule your c-section when covering labor and delivery or on a day set aside for scheduled surgeries.
8. If I am being induced, when will the induction be scheduled?
If your induction is not urgent, the medical office will call the hospital and reserve an induction on the hospital schedule.
The date of your induction is based on the induction spots available at the hospital. The staff will also try to choose a time when
your provider will be working in labor and delivery.
Hospitals have to limit the number of “elective” inductions per day to make sure adequate labor rooms are available for patients
admitted in spontaneous labor. If your induction is urgent, you will be sent directly to the hospital.
9. When do I call with labor symptoms?
Ask your providers who and when to call when you experience the onset of signs and symptoms of labor.
This information should be reviewed with you and written down. Don’t rely on your memory when you are in labor.
Find out who you will be talking to when you call with labor symptoms and where you will be going for an evaluation.
Here is a list of some of the questions you will be asked about your labor symptoms:
- When did you start contracting? How far apart are they? Are they getting closer together? How long do they last?
- Did you pass your mucus plug?
- Did your water break? If yes, when and what color was it?
- Are you having vaginal bleeding? If so, how much?
By the time you are into your third trimester:
- Your provider will have discussed the signs and symptoms of labor with you.
- You should have received paperwork about when to call for advice or when to go to the hospital.
*Be clear in your mind about all these details and keep all the necessary paperwork nearby. When active labor begins you do not want to be looking for anything.
10. What numbers do I need at the time of delivery?
Confirm you have all the correct phone numbers readily available for when you go into labor:
- The medical Practice on-call number
- The number for your local ambulance service.
Be sure to give those numbers to your partner too!
This is a very important task to remember to do during your last month of pregnancy! Labor is not always predictable.
Additional Questions for women who plan to have epidurals:
When can I get my epidural? What other pain management options are there while I wait?
These are usually the steps involved in getting your epidural placed:
Before getting an epidural, your evaluation at the hospital will have to confirm that you are in labor.
Labor is defined as contractions with cervical change.
If you are in the early (latent) phase of labor, confirming you’re are in labor may require observation to determine if there is cervical change.
If you arrive at the hospital with regular contractions and an advanced cervical exam (4cm dilated) you will be diagnosed in active labor and will be admitted.
When you are contracting and your water has broken, you will also be managed as a labor patient (either latent or active).
Once labor has been confirmed, the decision to place an epidural varies among practitioners. This is one reason why you will want to discuss your decision to have an epidural with your provider during your prenatal care.
Some clinicians will place epidurals early and others wait until labor is more active.
Since epidurals can cause a drop in blood pressure, you will be given IV fluids prior to the placement of your epidural to avoid blood pressure problems.
You can receive narcotic pain relief until the epidural is placed. You may also be able to have nitrous oxide, while you wait for an epidural.
Once you have your epidural, it will be tested to see if it is functioning properly.
It is important to let your anesthesiologist know if you are getting pain relief when testing is performed and when you experience contractions once the epidural has been placed. As an OB/GYN and I know this is a real pet peeve of Sue’s as an RN, if you are not getting pain relief from the epidural, that is an unacceptable outcome.
The overall rate of successful pain relief via epidural is 98-99%, but there are times when they fail or don’t work as expected. (Source)
Extremely fast unpredictable labor and delivery can happen before the analgesia can take effect or before enough is given. That happens, but if that isn’t the case and you are still experiencing pain that is not being relieved to your satisfaction, anesthesia needs to be called back to figure out the problem.
Epidurals and The Second Stage Of Labor:
When you are fully dilated, you are have reached the second stage of labor and will start to push.
Some clinicians will decrease the strength of the epidural to help you push better.
This is done by decreasing the motor block. The epidural can then be increased when delivery is imminent.
These questions are a few of the basic questions you may want to ask as you approach your due date. You will likely have more
questions you will want to ask during your last month of pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Asking questions is the best
way to reduce your anxiety and fears about labor and delivery. You should never feel uncomfortable asking your provider
questions that concern you.
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