7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Labor

Image adapted via Flickr/ Daquella manera

As your pregnancy starts to come to an end and your focus turns to labor, birth, and your baby, you probably have a lot of things on your mind. We tend to put a lot of focus on the pregnancy, but in the third trimester especially, talking about labor is important–because it's going to happen.

In my first pregnancy, labor was this abstract thing. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't realize how much there was to know about it. I thought my body would just know what to do and that everything was just straightforward. But clearly, I was naive.

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If you're facing your first labor and birth, there are some questions you'll want to make sure you bring up to your doctor before you're contracting and not able to focus on much else.

1. What signs should alert me to go to the doctor?

At the end of pregnancy, complications can arise, and you'll want to make sure you ask your doctor what you should watch out for in case anything should happen.

2. What is the GBS test?

The GBS (Group B Strep) test is standard for most doctors, and they will perform it late in your third trimester (or sooner). If you're not familiar with it, you'll want to ask your doctor what it is, what it can tell you, and what the results mean when you get them back.

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3. What can I do to prepare for labor?

The third trimester is a great time to make sure you've got everything done you need before labor, before birth, and before baby comes. Preparing for labor is something you can do before it happens, and talking to your doctor about what specifically you're able to do (bouncing on a birth ball, walking more, etc.) is one of those things.

4. What can I do to increase my comfort now?

Oh, the third trimester is a time of super discomfort for many–including me. Your body is tired, you have aches and pains, and you feel like you've been pregnant forever. Talking to your doctor about increasing your comfort measures can make a real difference in your happiness and put you in a great frame of mind to begin labor.

5. When should we discuss induction?


Some hospitals have different policies when it comes to labor induction, and when you're at the end of pregnancy, the idea of getting the baby out sooner may sound like a good idea. But that's not always the case. Talking to your doctor about induction, the pros/cons, the risks, and the reasons why it may happen is a good idea to do before it's a decision you're facing.

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Image via Flickr/ Hamed Saber

6. How will I know when it's time to go to the hospital?

If you're choosing a hospital birth, you will want to chat with your doctor about when would be the best time to show up if you think you're in labor. Some suggest you go when your contractions are regular; some say when your contractions are a certain time apart; and some say to go in right away if your water breaks.

7. What should I include in my birth plan?

It's always good to talk to your doctor about your birth plan before you go into labor. You can talk about your hopes about how you want your pregnancy to go and about what you should include when communicating with the rest of the team when it all goes down.

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What questions do you think are important to ask your doctor before labor and birth?

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7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Labor

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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1 comment

  1. Zahra says:

    Other questions to ask:
    – When do you consider that I’m in “active labor”? (The new standard is 6 cm)
    – How long after laboring do you say “Time’s up, time for a c-section”?
    – How long after breaking my waters do you want me to deliver? (As long as mom and baby are not showing signs of distress, I’d wouldn’t think about any clock)
    – If baby goes breech before labor, do you do ECV (turning the baby from outside the womb) and what’s your success rate?
    – What’s your c-section rate? (And what’s the CS rate of the doctors in the same office/hopital?)
    – What’s your VBAC rate and your VBAC success rate?
    – Do you do growth ultrasounds and if so, when is baby “too big” for vaginal delivery? (ACOG says that suspected big baby is not an indication for CS, up to actual babies of 11 pounds. Estimation tend to vary by up to 2 pounds and the bigger the baby, the more wildly inaccurate they seem to be. This is *regardless of the height/weight of the mother.)
    – If anyone tells you that “This thing makes 30% more likely that this other thing will happen!” ask 30% more of how much. 30% more of 1% is 1.3%. 30% more of 20% is 26%. These are two very different scenarios. I’d be comfortable with 30% more of 1%, not so much with 30% more of 20%.


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