During the nine months of pregnancy, moms-to-be will spend more time in the doctor's office than they ever have in their lives. But that doesn't mean that the doctor will have time to go through all of the ins and outs of pregnancy. There are lots of things that moms will only understand if and when they go through it.
There are so many pregnancy symptoms that most doctors won't even bother mentioning all of them until the mom has a specific question, and of all the things that are going on with her and the baby, it might be best that he avoids some of the things that might cause the mom to worry too much. He's not going to get into all the details of prenatal vitamins, but he'll talk about the important things like folic acid. Doctors only have so much time to spend with each patient, and that's why many women end up talking with specialists about things like genetic concerns or complications like gestational diabetes. Don't get us wrong — those doctor's appointments are important, but a mom won't learn everything she needs to know there. So we have some more information that the doctor might leave out.
Here are 15 honest truths doctors don't have time to tell patients about.
15 Long List Of Medication Warnings
The first prenatal appointment is long — and about half of it is usually with a nurse who gets a family history, asks a tons of questions and gives some information about the things that moms should avoid during early pregnancy. The mom is going to collect more pamphlets than she has ever seen at one time because there is so much to learn — and the doctor just doesn't have enough time to talk about all of it in a huge amount of detail. That's why moms get so much material to read.
One of those pamphlets or sheets is likely going to have a list of medications to avoid during pregnancy.
Things like aspirin and allergy medications might be easier to say, but the list is actually really, really long. The doctor will mention a few, but the list is so long that moms shouldn't rely on him to mention all of them.
It's really important that a mother who is taking medication ask her doctor about her prescriptions. There are times when it's important for the risks to be weighed with the mom's help, and the doctor will take time to discuss that. But he doesn't have time to list all of the medications that could pose an issue.
14 Best And Worst Of Prenatal Vitamins
While many moms are going to have to worry about getting off of medications at the beginning of pregnancy, all of them are actually going to have to start taking some pills. Doctors recommend moms-to-be take prenatal vitamins to supplement their nutrition while they are pregnant. That's because the health of the baby can be improved immensely by the vitamins, especially if they are taken early in pregnancy.
But doctors aren't going to take the time to go into all the pros and cons of the different types of prenatal vitamins — there are just too many brands out there to debate.
The one thing that all doctors are sure to encourage, though, is that a mom picks out a prenatal vitamin that contains plenty of folic acid. The vitamin has been proven to help prevent neural tube defects, which can cause birth defects affecting the spinal column and brain. They could leave the baby to suffer from stillbirth or paralysis, so folic acid is the only specific supplement that is usually discussed by doctors. Moms should research other vitamins on their own because there just isn't enough time to debate all of it with the mom.
13 Sleep Problems
There are a lot of pregnancy symptoms that doctors discuss with their patients, but there are a number of issues that he won't mention because there just isn't time. One of those that might surprise moms-to-be is the problem that pregnant women with sleep. It can be a big issue when a person is going through so much and rest is essential.
Doctors might mention that pregnant women can't sleep on her belly or on her back — she has to shift to her side — but otherwise, it doesn't rate on the long list of symptoms.
In the first trimester, moms get so tired that they find themselves needing a nap during the day, and that might interfere a bit with their sleep cycle at night. Plus, they are always having to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. There might be a bit of a break in the second trimester, but pretty soon the baby bump gets so big that it's hard to get comfortable. Heartburn can really be a big deal at night, and so some women end up trying to prop themselves up on pillows to stop the pain. And they keep having to get up to go to the bathroom. Some women also experience anxiety that keeps them up at night as well. It can be really hard to get the rest that a mom-to-be needs, even if the doctor didn't have time to mention it.
12 Full Spectrum Of Genetic Issues
There are so many things that can impact the development of the baby, and genetic issues are one of the biggest. There are dozens of different disorders that can happen during different stages of development. Some might run in the family, even though it hasn't been seen in a few generations. And there are others that can happen because of gene mutations that are just the luck of the draw.
Many times, the doctor will mention something like Down Syndrome while asking whether the mom wants to go through testing, but that is just one condition of dozens that could happen. The doctor doesn't have time to list all of the things that the baby could have, especially since there are so many that could affect the baby but can't be tested for until after the baby is born.
There are a number of screenings and tests that doctors could recommend, based on the family's history and other risks, and ultrasounds might reveal some developmental problems. However, the list is so extensive that it's impossible — and way too frightening — to list every one.
Parents might want to talk to a genetic counselor if there is a condition that causes them concern, and the doctor will be there to answer questions when they arise.
11 Importance Of Exercise
At just about every doctor's appointment, a doctor will ask the mom-to-be if she is eating healthy and if she is taking her prenatal vitamins. He might ask whether she is exercising as well, but most of the time, the discussion doesn't last long. That's because there are so many other things to talk about, and moms usually say they are getting in some walking even when it isn't the truth. But exercise really is a very important part of the pregnancy.
When a mom has more muscle mass, she is more likely to be able to handle the stress on her body from pregnancy. Exercise can also provide a lot of endurance that can make getting through the labor and delivery easier.
Doctors don't necessarily recommend strenuous exercise, but they do think it's great for a mom to be active as much as possible, as long as she isn't on bed rest.
And he'll probably mention briefly Kegel exercises, but moms should spend a lot more time working on those. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor, and they help prepare the mom for pushing out her little one during the delivery and for rebuilding the strength in her vaginal walls after birth. Those exercises definitely can't be forgotten.
10 Swelling Reality
Until the last trimester, when doctors start to worry about the possibility of preeclampsia, they usually don't mention one of the harshest realities of pregnancy for some women — swelling. While some women can go through the nine months with very little problems, many moms-to-be have to contend with some very serious swelling that can make having a baby very hard. It's something that can contribute a lot to the way a mom feels huge, and it can mean that clothes that fit in the morning might be much tighter in the afternoon.
Pregnancy can cause women to swell in all kinds of weird places, including the face, which is not what a mom-to-be wants to worry about. The worst part of swelling is usually reserved for the feet, especially if a woman has a job that requires her to stand for a lot of the day, such as being a teacher. It can cause the shoes to be really uncomfortable, and a mom might have to put her feet up at the end of the day to get some relief.
Doctors don't have time to talk about swelling too often, but usually in the third trimester they bring it up to warn women about the very scary complication of preeclampsia.
The complication has other symptoms such as headaches and high blood pressure, but one of the earliest signs is dramatic swelling in a short period of time. After going through it for nine months, it seems weird to call it a special symptom, and it can be hard to picture if you've lived with it for so long. But it can be a sign that things are really wrong, so doctors will finally make the time to talk about it.
9 How To Help Your Back
One of the most common complaints of pregnant women, especially in the last trimester, is back pain. In fact, probably every woman has had to deal with the discomfort at some point during the nine months.
That's because putting so much pull out front on the belly can cause a strain in the back. Plus, the ligaments in the pelvis loosen, which makes things even more problematic. It's so common that doctors don't talk about it.
There are some things that might help, but there are other things that are definite no-nos. For example, a hot tub might soothe the sore back muscles, but doctors recommend that moms skip it because the high temperatures could cause problems. That's also true for heating pads. But ice might help. And one of the biggest recommendations is to use a belly band or other kind of low belt that helps lift the pressure in the back. For severe pain, a physical therapist might be able to help, and some people swear by chiropractors, although that isn't always a great idea. Moms have to be really specific with the doctor if their pain is intense because it's not something that the doctor normal takes the time to talk about.
8 How Pregnancy Affects Your Mouth
There are a lot of pregnancy symptoms that are common, and there are others that are rare. With so little time available in an appointment, it's just impossible to get to all of them. And that is why some women are shocked for find that they are having weird things happen in a part of their body they wouldn't think had anything to do with their pregnancy. It's only after a trip to the dentist that some women find that their tooth problems are actually baby related.
While some moms-to-be might be on alert looking for blood to come from down below during the first trimester, they might freak out to find that they are actually spitting out the substance from their mouth. That's because the swelling that happens in your torso and legs during pregnancy can happen in your gums as well. Usually, though, it's not a big deal. The problem happens when you develop a cavity, as having a baby can increase the risk of tooth decay for women.
Dentists recommend that moms-to-be keep up with their daily brushing and flossing, and they also should continue to go to dental appointments.
While they may have to delay the treatment of a tooth problem during portions of the pregnancy, it's still important to get cleanings. And don't be surprised if you have excess saliva either — that's something that few doctors have time to mention but many women experience when they are pregnant.
7 Restless Leg Syndrome
We've already talked about one of the biggest problems with women's legs during pregnancy — the terrible swelling that can make a woman's ankles feel like tree trunks. But that isn't the only thing that can happen. There is a rare issue that doctors don't have time to mention, but it might be keeping a mom-to-be awake at night. The condition is called restless leg syndrome, and it can happen to as many as one out of every four pregnant women.
Restless leg syndrome has been linked to low iron, a condition known as anemia, but it can happen to some women for an unknown reason. It's a really strange sensation that can include pain or just, well, restlessness in the legs.
Some women say it feels like their skin is crawling, and it makes them want to be in constant motion. Unfortunately, it usually gets worse at night, just when a tired mama wants some sleep. One of the reasons that doctors might not bring it up, though, is because they can't do a lot about it. The actually syndrome doesn't harm the baby, but any medications might, so it isn't recommended that women take them. If the sensation is related to low iron, moms-to-be might want to up their intake, since that is good for the baby anyway. A nice dinner of liver and onions might just do it.
Charlie horses can also be a big problem in pregnancy, so doctors recommend that women stretch and get a good healthy diet full of electrolytes to try to keep the legs as pain-free as possible.
6 Discharge Discussion
There are some topics that women don't like to bring up, even when they are at the doctor's office.
It would be nice if the doctor broached the conversation himself, but that isn't likely since there are so many other pressing issues to discuss during the doctor's appointment. That means that some women might spend way to long wondering what is going on with her downstairs discharge while she's pregnant.
The good news is that most of the time, it's totally normal, but one word from the doctor would help in allaying any fears.
Thanks to pregnancy hormones, the amount of discharge a woman sees can increase greatly during pregnancy. It might smell more strongly — or maybe that's the mom's hyper sense of smell during pregnancy — but as long as it isn't green and really gross, things are just fine. Green discharge can be a sign of infection, so that is important to mention right away to the doctor. And toward the end of pregnancy, a woman might notice a really yellowish or reddish discharge. That is what is known as the bloody show, and it could be a sign that labor is imminent. By imminent, we mean that it could start the next day or the next month. It's a normal symptom of the last trimester, but it's not necessarily a predictor that labor is on the way. It's just another harsh reality of pregnancy that your doctor may not have time to discuss.
5 High Risk Reality
Obstetricians are great at helping moms-to-be navigate their pregnancies.
But there are times when they just don't have the time — or the expertise — to fully take care of the mom and the baby prior to the birth. That's a reality for many high risk moms, who need to see a specialist to have the adequate care that their baby and body need.
Women who are older than 35, for example, are at higher risk for a number of complications, and their babies are more likely to have birth defects, so they often have extra appointments with both their OB and a specialist.
Other conditions such as gestational diabetes put the mom in the high-risk category, and if the doctor discovers an issue with the pregnancy during the ultrasound, he's likely going to refer her to a specialist. The same is true for multiples, especially if there are triplets, quadruplets or more on board. High risk pregnancies usually involve a lot more tests and a lot more discussions that doctors don't have time for in their normal practice. And that is why it's important to go to a maternal fetal specialist who has longer appointments and more time for answers. Both doctors will keep an eye on the baby and the mom, and even though it requires more time, specialists can help bring the baby safely into the world.
4 They May Not Be There For the Birth
The relationship between a mom-to-be and her doctor is special. While his time with her is limited, she still needs to trust him or her with her health and the health of her baby. It can take months to build that trust, but one thing that the doctor might not mention is that it's possible he won't be there for the birth.
Some OB practices are really open that they may not be there, and they make sure that the mom meets all of the doctors in the rotation so she won't be a total stranger to the one on call when she goes into labor, but other small practices aren't so open about this harsh truth.
If you think about it, you would understand that a doctor needs to sleep sometimes. But that doesn't make it any easier to take it when you think that your doctor is going to be there for the culmination of all the work that has been going on for months. Some doctors make special efforts to be there, but considering how unpredictable labor can be — and how long it can take — many women end up with a different doctor when they are delivering their little one. Even if a woman has planned a C-section, she might go into labor early and miss her appointment. No one wants to take the time to discuss it ahead of time, but moms have to be flexible and go with the doctor available in their time of need.
3 Risks Of Pre-Term Delivery
Most women expect to give birth around their due date — or even later if it is their first child. But there are a lot of risks that could cause the baby to come early. That's something that doctors don't always take the time to explain, which leaves some moms surprised to find out that those pains they are experiencing aren't Braxton Hicks contractions and that the baby is on the way.
Women who are pregnant with twins or triplets, and those that have problems with their cervix are the most likely to know about their risk for any early labor, but it can also happen with women who have diabetes, high blood pressure or an infection. Women who are an unhealthy size before they get pregnant also might go into labor early, and those who had a baby and then got pregnant quickly with another are also at risk. The factor that most women don't realize, though, is family history. If your mom gave birth early, you are more likely to do so, and that might come as a surprise.
If a woman gets treatment quickly, doctors might be able to stop premature labor, but if a woman doesn't know she's at risk, she might ignore the signs of early labor.
It's important to ask the doctor about the possibility, so you can be prepared. A baby born early is at risk for a lot of health issues, some of which last for a lifetime, so this is something you should take the time to talk about.
2 Bedroom Talk
This talk is something that no one wants to have. Our parents didn't want to have it with us, and we don't look forward to having it with our kids. Even our health care professionals don't really have the time or inclination to talk about it, if they can avoid it. Unfortunately, that can be bad news if they don't warn a woman about one risk. For people who are in monagomous relationships, it's not an issue at all, but there are many single moms these days, and it's important to have the talk.
Many women might think that protection isn't necessary when they are already pregnant, but according to research, the number of babies who are exposed to STDs at birth is on the rise. That's because doctors might test for the diseases at the beginning of the pregnancy, but they don't warn the moms of the need to protect themselves as it goes on.
If a baby is born naturally to a mom who has syphilis, chlamydia or another STD, there is a possibility of severe illness, blindness and even stillbirth. Unfortunately, many doctors don't take the time to mention this, but it's a really big problem if they don't.
1 What Childbirth Is Really Like
The one thing that a doctor gets the most questions about is the birth. But no matter how much time he takes to answer the questions, he may not get close to actually explaining what things are really like. That's because there are so many different experiences that can happen for a woman. It's just about impossible to describe it accurately since women feel the pain differently; some have pain in their front and others have pain in the back; sometimes it comes on strong and sometimes it's a slow but continual rise.
There is really no way to describe what childbirth will be like for some OBs, since they haven't actually gone through it themselves if they are men. There are all the clinical answers, and it's easy to warn a mom that it will hurt.
But each person has a different threshold for pain, and it's fair to say that if you haven't felt it, you don't understand. All a doctor can do is talk about what kind of options will be available and to recommend a childbirth class, which is usually offered at hospitals.
He doesn't have time in an appointment to go through breathing techniques and all the other stuff. Pregnant women are going to hear about childbirth from just about anyone who has ever gone through it, whether they ask or not, and it's a good idea to get as much as they can from them, since the doctor probably doesn't have time to tell her everything.