Throughout your pregnancy, it's important that the lines of communication between you and your OB remain open.
However, if you're feeling nervous about asking certain questions, you're not alone. Many expectant moms have topics that they want to bring up to their provider, but feel hesitant to do so. Sometimes it's because they don't want to offend their OB or ruffle any feathers, and other times pregnant moms don't ask questions because they just don't know that they're "allowed" to.
First of all, I want to tell you that you are DEFINITELY ALLOWED to ask questions.
All of them. Any question you have about your pregnancy, your birth or your postpartum experience-- you should be asking. As a patient you have the right to fully understand your care so you can make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and as you plan for your birth. Asking questions will help you take charge of your birth experience, so it's personalized and you can go into it with confidence.
You might feel nervous about having a conversation that feels somewhat confrontational, especially with a medical professional. You might need to prepare yourself for this conversation, perhaps with encouragement from your partner or by practicing with a trusted friend. Just know that having an open conversation with your OB will give you valuable insight into what to expect from them and your birth.
Here are a few things to remember if you're nervous about talking to your OB about your birth plan:
1. Questions like yours are probably common
However new and unfamiliar the whole pregnancy and birth planning experience is for you, it's likely that your OB has fielded questions like yours before. They probably won't be caught off guard with any question you ask, and you'll likely walk out of the conversation with all the answers you need.
2. It's better to have these conversations earlier than later
While your nervousness might make you hold off on asking questions, just know it's better to ask your questions earlier on in your pregnancy. With the answers you receive from your OB, you'll be able to prep for your birth and have more peace of mind in knowing what to expect. This is also important if your OB's answers end up being really opposite of what your birth desires are. Having early conversations will give you enough time to switch providers if that's something you feel you need to do.
3. You hired them, they work for you
Depending on your state and the details of your birth (and what insurance covers), the cost for a birth in the hospital is in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you were paying anybody else tens of thousands of dollars for any other service, you would check to make sure they were aligned with your desired outcome. Same goes for your OB. With the amount of money you're spending on your birth, you should make sure that whoever is caring for you is doing it the way you want them to.
4. Be as confident as you can, or enlist help
While it might feel nerve-wracking, it's important to start the conversation as confidently as you can when relaying your questions and desires. This will show your commitment to your proactive role in your care. If you have a hard time feeling confident in situations like this, it's a good idea to bring along a support person who understands your questions, motives and birth wishes (this could be a partner, doula or trusted friend).
How you should feel when you're asking your OB questions about your birth
Even if you are feeling nervous at the beginning of a conversation with your OB about your birth wishes, you should leave feeling empowered, understood and on the same page as your provider. While you may not see eye-to-eye on every one of your desires, the conversation itself should feel productive and respectful. If you get the feeling at any point during any interaction with you're OB that you're being dismissed or judged, it might be a sign that you should consider switching practitioners.
Your desires for your care are important
As you get ready to have your baby, it's totally normal (and expected) that you're going to have some strong desires. Even if you're nervous, you should prioritize conversations regarding your preferences and your care. The right OB will welcome your questions and suggestions, and will work together with you to help you feel fully prepared and supported.
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