Pregnancy is a period of change, so you’ve likely been busy. In addition to your changing body, you’ve been preparing a nursery and adjusting your plans for the future. You may not have had time to meet with your doctor and ask about your upcoming birthing experience. These are the most important questions to ask your doctor before your baby is born.
1. How Will I Know When Labor Begins?
When your due date gets closer or arrives, you may experience symptoms that make you feel like you’re going into labor. They might be real or they could be Braxton-Hicks contractions.
In addition to cramps that get stronger and closer together with time, your doctor will help you figure out if you’re really in labor by inquiring about these other symptoms:
- Leaking vaginal fluid (also known as the amniotic sac breaking)
- Bloody or pink mucus passing when you use the restroom
- Additional weight along your pelvis, as if the baby has dropped lower
You can always call your doctor or an emergency room line if you’re unsure about what you’re experiencing when the symptoms begin.
2. What Should I Bring to the Hospital?
Your local hospital will have everything you need to give birth safely and comfortably. However, you may want to discuss go-bag contents with your doctor ahead of your due date. It helps to bring toiletries, underwear and a bathrobe. You may also want a nursing bra and pads in addition to your health insurance ID card, your driver’s license and a phone charger.
3. What Happens if I Pass My Due Date?
Some people are still pregnant when their due date comes and goes. It’s common if your situation includes details such as:
- You’ve had an overdue pregnancy before.
- You’re experiencing your first pregnancy.
- Your doctor incorrectly calculated your due date.
These things happen to many pregnant people. You might also pass your due date if there are last-minute complications with the fetus or placenta. It’s best to discuss this possibility with your doctor and call them immediately if you have any concerns after your due date passes.
4. What Are Some Labor Pain Management Tips?
You’ll experience some labor pains whether or not you get an epidural. Your doctor can help you research pain management tips, like breathing exercises and massages that you can do with a partner or whoever’s in the delivery room with you.
5. Should We Save Our Baby’s Cord Blood?
Some families are genetically predispositioned for certain conditions that have stem cell treatments, like diabetes or cancer. Your doctor may advise that it’s in your future child’s best interest to collect their cord blood after their delivery.
If that’s the case, you can call blood banks to compare their services ahead of your due date. Ask about testing for cell viability, service guarantees and if they’ll increase their annual rates after you sign on the dotted line. Your hospital may have cord blood storage and assist in getting it to your chosen blood bank.
6. What if There Are Health Complications?
Every pregnant person should fully understand what their hospital can handle during and after delivery. Some medical facilities are more equipped for health complications than others. You can find out what types of support your local hospital can provide by chatting with your doctor about any circumstances that would require transferring your newborn to another facility.
7. Will There Be a Lactation Consultant Available?
Sometimes hospitals have lactation consultants available for new mothers, but some don’t. It depends on the hospital’s funding and staffing capabilities. Ask your doctor whether one will be available or not after you give birth. A lactation consultant would have extensive training and be able to diagnose and treat lactation issues like low milk supply, difficulty latching and any special feeding needs for infants with medical complications.
8. Which Activities Should I Avoid After Giving Birth?
New parents should be aware of a few different concerns after giving birth. Cesarean section (c-section) patients will have to avoid lifting heavy objects and submerging their abdominal tissues during the healing process. Anyone who gives birth vaginally will also need to rest, avoid any stairs and opt for low-intensity workouts when your doctor gives you the green light for exercise.
9. What Is the Normal Period of Hospitalization?
Your doctor may recommend a more extended hospital stay after your delivery, depending on your health conditions. Typical vaginal births require a 24-hour stay, while someone who undergoes a c-section could stay up to two days. You may need to stay longer if your doctor wants to monitor any existing health conditions or recommends it after delivery complications.
10. How Can I Bring My Baby Safely Home?
People often make a plan to bring their newborn home. After the hospital discharges you, you’ll need to place your baby in an infant-only or convertible car seat that faces the back of your car. You should also strap the car seat into the middle or back seat since it’s dangerous to drive with your child in the front seat until they’re old enough to withstand a discharged airbag.
Speak with your doctor about any other recommendations based on your birthing plan or future child’s diagnosed health needs. They’ll help you plan your ride home and post-delivery care ideas so your transition from the hospital to your daily routine is seamless.
Ask the Essential Questions
It’s never too late to ask for clarification or help when planning your delivery experience. While you’re on the phone with your primary care physician or visiting your OB-GYN, ensure that you mention these essential questions to ask your doctor before your baby is born. You’ll have a more enjoyable experience and worry less because you’ll have the answers you need.