5 Things You Should Tell Your Doctors and Nurses Before Delivery
While many pregnant women head to the hospital with bags packed and birth plan in hand, they may be forgetting some crucial pieces of information.
Aside from important questions like breast vs. bottle-feeding, the hospital staff will need crucial medical information about you and your pregnancy. Especially in emergency situations where you may deliver early or your paperwork might not be available, it’s a good idea for you to know the essentials. Scary as it may be, medical errors can and do happen, so empower yourself with full knowledge of the aspects of pregnancy that will affect your care.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. GBS status
One of the very first pieces of information labor and delivery nurses look for when a pregnant woman arrives to the hospital is their GBS status. Group B streptococca (GBS) is a type of normal bacteria that resides in the vaginal and rectum and all pregnant women are screened for it, usually at their initial pregnancy exam and around 35 weeks. GBS is not harmful to the mother, but women that carry the bacteria may pass it onto their baby during delivery, potentially harming the newborn. If you tested positive for the bacteria during your pregnancy, you are considered “GBS positive” and will need to receive antibiotics during labor to prevent any infection in your baby. If you know you are positive, you can be sure to alert the nursing staff in the event that you delivery quickly.
See the aforementioned antibiotic reference above? Many women are allergic to penicillin, a common antibiotic used to treat GBS, so be sure to know your allergies and your reaction to them before you receive any medication. Again, it is important to be clear ahead of time if you have any allergies so that staff is well aware of them before any complications arise.
3. Blood type
Although every woman will get her blood drawn and tested as part of routine pregnancy lab work while at the hospital, it is still preferable if you know your own blood type. If you and your baby have different blood types, (for instance, if you have a “negative” type of blood, such as O-, and your baby has “positive,” such as A+) you will need to receive a special medication called Rhogam before you leave the hospital. .
4. Previous pregnancy complications and delivery information.
I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Did you have premature labor with your first baby? Some crazy placenta disorder that you can’t really remember the name of? TELL US! It can be hard to sift through a pregnant woman’s history and if your labor is progressing quickly, it’s always better to be safe and repeat information. Also be sure to tell your nurse or care provider if you have had a previous c-section, as that can lead to complications during pregnancy and delivery.
5. Any medical history
Again, it can be hard to look through a detailed list of medical history and it’s easy to miss something that may be important. If you have any significant medical history, be sure to speak up and let your nurses know. Medical problems in the past have a strange way of showing up later during pregnancy.