Baptist Health OB/GYNs answer questions about pregnancy, labor, and being your doctor.
Do you often get patients who think differently about how they would like to deliver their babies or receive pain medication during labor?
While this doesn’t happen often, it’s important to discuss your personal plan for pregnancy and delivery with us – ideally, well before labor begins. It’s important for us to talk through your reasonings of why and how you’ve come to your decisions. We want to ensure these choices are safe for both you and the baby. If we believe it’s safe, there’s always something to be worked out to accommodate your needs. If we or our nursing staff don’t feel comfortable meeting these requests, we won’t. It always boils down to a safety issue.
This conversation is also beneficial to be had early on, so we can discuss alternative options everyone feels comfortable with in case of complications and what those common complications could be. We want to be on the same page for plans A and B.
It’s most definitely an important conversation to be had early in the process so both doctor and mom are aligned with how we expect the journey to go. Just know that these decisions are never made lightly. Safety is always our utmost concern, not convenience.
What have been the top three things that moms-to-be ask you when they come in?
“Who’ll be delivering my baby?”
At our clinic, more likely than not, whoever your doctor is will deliver your baby. If for some reason your doctor can’t be there, the other of us will be on call to conduct your delivery. Because of this, we always have one appointment throughout your pregnancy with the other doctor so you get to know and feel comfortable with both of us.
“Can I schedule my induction?”
March of Dimes and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not recommend elective induction of labor before 39 weeks. We want to give your baby all the time he or she needs to develop. If there are complications or your labor goes past 40 weeks, induced labor is something we’ll begin to look at.
“How can I have a healthy pregnancy?”
While this is a large topic, we recommend the basics: eating well and staying active. A big misconception is when you’re pregnant, you’re “eating for two.” It’s normal to have cravings and indulge every now and then, but you shouldn’t be gaining 60 – 80 pounds throughout the process. It’s also important to keep your body moving which helps in preparing yourself for labor.
What’s the number 1 thing you recommend nutrition-wise for pregnant women?
“Moderation” is our go-to word. You should be eating a well-balanced healthy diet while, of course, avoiding alcohol and certain types of fish. Pregnancy is not the time to try a new diet or cut out certain food groups. Your body, and your baby, need a little of everything – carbs, fats, nutrients and sugars.
For patients with pre-existing dietary concerns, like diabetes, we will have different recommendations. We talk through dietary concerns with all our patients.
What advice can you give women about exercising during pregnancy? Is it safe to exercise?
We recommend maintaining the same level of activity you practiced before pregnancy and adjust as needed. If you ran, continue to run. If you did yoga, continue your practice. Whatever your body is accustomed to.
If you were sedentary prior to becoming pregnant, we like our patients to begin walking, or using a stationary recumbent bike, 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week.
It’s important to listen to your body, take time to recover and stretch after your workouts and consult your doctors as needed. We like to say, “if it hurts, don’t do it.”
Prenatal vitamins - how important are they?
Women should begin taking prenatal vitamins three months before they want to conceive. Those very early stages of pregnancy are when folic acid is the most important and it’s not something prevalent in our normal diets.
We’ll do a blood test for our patients to determine if any additional supplements are needed like iron or stool softener.
Specific vitamins can be adjusted, too. If insurance allows, we can recommend prescription brand or if you prefer over-the-counter options, we’ll help you make your selection.
As you’re researching the right prenatal vitamins for you, read Things To Consider When Choosing Prenatal Vitamins
How important is it for pregnant women to be flexible with their birthing plan? Do you find that plans change often?
Flexibility lies in the patient’s understanding that changes are made for their safety, not convenience. We can’t always predict what the baby will do during labor or how the mom’s body will respond. We adjust the birthing process as needed to ensure safety, looking first to the options discussed ahead of time. Healthy mom, health baby is always what we’re striving towards.
How accessible are you after-hours, and how easy is it to get an appointment with you?
At our clinic, one of us is always on call. Our answering service connects to our pager so we can call you. There is room worked into our schedules for “sick visits” to meet with you over any concern. If for some reason we can’t make it to you, we’ll direct you to our labor and delivery facilities to be checked on as soon as possible, get updates from the onsite medical staff and then connect with you to discuss next steps.
If you’d like to learn more about Baptist Health Women’s Clinic–North Little Rock, click here.