From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, your mind is likely filled with questions. Should I eat this? Can I go here? Can I sleep in this position? Why am I always tired and hungry? The list goes on and on, and can often get overwhelming and quite stressful. You can even add to the stress load by posting your questions on social media for every mom and future mom to weigh in.
The truth of the matter is, many of the questions you have, have a variety of answers coming from a wide range of perspectives. Not only that, but one solution may not work for you the way it does or did another mom-to-be. And while many of these questions can be brought up to your OB if and when you feel the need, the following questions you really should ask your OB before delivering your baby.
1. Where do you deliver?
For some, this may not be a necessary question, because many OB’s have offices at or right near the hospitals they deliver at. However, there are some who practice in one office and deliver at another that may be a farther drive than you would like.
There are even instances when your doctor is in network and the hospital that he or she delivers at is not, and visa versa. And, boy, do you not want to end up with a ginormous bill from a hospital or doctor that didn't take your insurance.
By asking this question upfront, you can make the appropriate plans for delivery.
2. What does your practice/office charge?
The financial part of pregnancy is often the most stressful, and you really should know what your doctor charges for his OB services. Keep in mind that the office will generally give you the breakdown for just prenatal care, and there will be a whole other bill that you will get after delivery.
These are answers that your doctor may not know, and you will more than likely be referred to the financial secretary. After getting the breakdown, check with your insurance to see what portion will be covered, what your deductible is, etc. It is your responsibility to know what your insurance covers, so do that early on. Surprises are fun, but not when they come in the form of humongous medical bills.
3. What is your philosophy on birth?
As is the case with most professions, each OB will have his or her philosophy on birth. While there are several variations in philosophies, all generally fall under two categories: Active management or expectant management.
Active management is the use of medical technology, and many doctors prefer to use all the technology at their disposal because technology = better. Well, in some cases, mainly higher risk pregnancies, these innovative technologies are wonderful and even extremely necessary to ensure the safety of mom and baby.
However, in a normal, healthy pregnancy, active management has no benefits for mom or baby. Some active management practices may even harm or keep vital nutrients from your baby. One example of this happens during the third trimester when the placenta is delivered and the cord disconnected. Active management would involve early cord clamping and cutting, and pulling the placenta out once it has detached from the wall of the uterus, and even an injection of artificial Oxycontin into the mother's thigh as the baby is born.
Recent research has found that delayed cord clamping allows more blood to transfer from the placenta to the baby, increasing iron in the blood, raising the newborn’s iron storage, which is vital for healthy brain development.
If your pregnancy falls under the healthy/normal category, you may want to go with a doctor who favors expectant management which supports the woman through normal labor without intervening, and only introducing monitoring and medications if necessary.
4. Who will deliver my baby?
You would assume that your doctor would be the one to deliver your baby, but due to the unpredictable nature of their work, he or she may be called to another emergency at the same time, or may have a scheduled surgery. Combine this with the often unpredictability of birth, there is a chance that your schedules might not align, and someone else may need to be there to deliver your baby.
This is a fairly common occurrence, and there are measures put in place, such on-call doctors or other medical staff who can step in. You may feel more comfortable having met or at least know the names of these individuals who may be delivering your baby ahead of time, so don’t be afraid to ask.
5. How can I get in touch with you?
Again, due to the unpredictability of pregnancy, especially delivery, it might be good to have a direct line to your OB, or a way to get ahold of him or her quickly. Now, don’t abuse this information, as OB’s have many other patients not to mention a life outside of his or her practice. But, having this information in case of emergencies is important to keep you assured that your OB will help you get through this challenging and exciting time of your life.