Writing this post at 37 weeks and four days pregnant (but who's counting?), and lemme tell you I'm feeling a bit torn. On one hand: I'm so ready to be done. On the other: I'm so not ready to juggle the demands of three kids, return to a place of not sleeping, like, ever, to endure the physical pains of labor and delivery. Gulp... Yeah, you can hang tight a little longer if you please, Little Lady.
Still, regardless of how I may be feeling, it ain't up to me... This feisty rib-kicking baby has clearly got a will all her own (ouch!), and so she shall come when she darn well pleases. That's why I've got to be prepared--and I don't just mean with my hospital bag packed (oh yeah, I better get on that!.) It's time to ask those pressing questions that have been seething in the back of my brain for a few weeks now.
You see, I delivered at a different practice in a different hospital in a whole other state the last two times, and I seem to have neglected some of the fundamental initial inquiries this go around. I've got questions and I want answers...
Whether you're heavily pregnant with your first or your fourth, you're going to want to ask a few key questions before the big day arrives. Here are a few Q's to add to your list.
Will You Let Me Go Past 40 Weeks?
You are technically full-term at 37 weeks. Your due date is at 40 weeks. But, sometimes, Bebe has other ideas--especially if it's your first kiddo. Little One might be enjoying his or her time cozied up in your belly, she could want to cook a little longer--maybe even an extra week or two. If you've had a typical textbook pregnancy, your obstetrician or midwife will likely allow you to go beyond your due date. But if you've had any complications (for me it's gestational diabetes), your doc will probably not want you to go past the 40 week mark. Regardless, this is a conversation you'll want to have in advance. "How far after 40 weeks will you let me go before inducing?" ... "What does the induction process entail?"... "What are the pros and cons of waiting vs. inducing immediately?"
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Can I follow my birth plan?
Okay, to be clear, I don't have a birth plan--didn't have one with my other kids either! It's just not my thing--I prefer to ride it out and see how I feel in the moment. However, some preggo mamas are planners and want to feel a sense of control in the delivery room. Having goals and expectations written out and agreed upon can give you some semblance of calm authority in a situation where doctors and nurses are moving around in a flutter of dizzy activity. Sometimes the plan will have to go out the door--your health and safety (and that of Baby) come first, but it can definitely be empowering to verbalize your wants.
Do I have the freedom to move around while in labor?
This is a big one that people tend to not think about in advance. Are you going to be tied down to a bed, strapped to monitors, and chained to IVs--or will you be able to move around, pace the halls, get on all fours, take a shower? This may depend on several factors: the facilities at your hospital, medical intervention, and epidural options to name a few. Ask you doctor what will disable you from free movement so you can make informed decisions while in labor.
At what point is a C-section likely?
If you're in the early stages of pregnancy or just finding an OB, do a little digging on your hospital and practice's rate of C-section. If you're committed to a vaginal birth, have this conversation with your doctor, but know that flexibility is necessary and emergencies do happen. Still, it's good to know what will definitively warrant a C-section.
Can I eat during labor?
My first labor was a long and arduous process. My water broke spontaneously and I was not in active labor--nor was I even remotely dilated. I got to the hospital on a Friday morning and didn't have my son until Saturday evening. And I wasn't allowed to eat a morsel in between. This was partially due to my gestational diabetes, but every doctor and hospital has their own policy in this regard. In fact, during my second labor, my doc called in a diabetic meal (basically clear soup broth) so that I'd have strength and energy for delivery. Ask so you know--if you don't have dietary restrictions, you may want to pack yummy snacks or a mini meal. You might not think you'll care or want to eat, but if you're there for long enough, you just may change your mind.
Next Read: 8 Things to Do in Your Ninth Month of Pregnancy.
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