Maternity Excellence: 3 Questions To Ask About Labor & Delivery

Maternity Excellence: 3 Questions To Ask About Labor & Delivery

Ready To Have A Baby?

After 9 long months of pregnancy, the time has finally come to deliver the baby. Many women feel ready at this point but may still not know what to expect at the hospital. To be as informed as possible, obstetric patients should consider asking the following 3 questions about labor and delivery before the due date approaches.


1. Who will my doctor be?

Knowing who to expect in the delivery room is pivotal. At some hospitals, doctors take turns being on call. This means the doctor seen for prenatal care may not be at the delivery. In other cases, especially at smaller hospitals, a patient’s regular doctor will be called to the hospital when the woman goes into labor to deliver the baby. Ask ahead of time to know exactly who will be in the room. Women should also be aware that different support staff, such as nurses, medical students, and pediatricians, may also show up for the big moment.

2. What medication options are available?

Many women prefer to have a medicated birth, using an epidural to dull the pain of contractions. If this is the plan, ask how quickly the anesthesiologist is available. The wait can be longer at some busier hospitals as the anesthesiologist may be busy helping other women. In other cases, the epidural can be administered as soon as the medication is requested. Ask now to be prepared when the time comes. At some hospitals, other forms of pain management can be administered. Laughing gas is an example that is gaining popularity. Ask whether this drug is available and how to use the equipment provided to manage pain successfully.

3. When will a c-section be required?

Most pregnant women want to avoid a c-section if possible. This is a major surgery and can require a longer recovery time. However, in some cases, a c-section may be necessary to protect the health of the mother or baby. Ask the medical team ahead of time when a c-section might be required in order to be as prepared as possible. Also, consider asking who can be in the operating room (OR) if a c-section or other emergent procedure is required.

Your baby, your way

Although there are certain situations where the doctor will need to make an important decision to keep the woman and baby safe, most of the time, patients have a good amount of control over the labor and delivery experience. Knowing who the doctor will be, what medications are available, and when a c-section might be required can help women prepare ahead of time. Also, consider asking when visitors are allowed, how long of a hospital stay is required, what items must be brought from home, and what the plan will be if the baby needs to go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for any reason. During pregnancy, education is power.

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