Communication is key when one is becoming a parent. In order to get the best care possible, a mom-to-be has to talk to her doctor — she has to ask questions, report on symptoms, and make sure that she is following instructions as much as possible. As often as moms go to the doctor's office during the nine months of pregnancy, they end up calling the office in between appointments to get even more answers.
The very first communication with the doctor about pregnancy happens over the phone when moms make their first appointment and try to figure out their due date. And the questions keep coming after that. They wonder about those instructions on what is safe to eat and what they can't do and call to get answers; they call when they can't handle the morning sickness and when they aren't sure if a new symptom is serious; and they call anxious to get test results or go over the birth plan.
While most of the phone calls to doctors during pregnancy go to the mom's ob/gyn, there are a few other important calls to be made to other doctors, and we'll go over those in this article as well.
Here are the 20 most common reasons future mom calls the doctor.
20 Spotting Scare
Many future moms haven't even had their first doctor's appointment before they have a concern that causes them to call the doctor. That's because sometimes women experience bleeding very early into their pregnancy.
Often, it comes around the time that the woman's period was due but it can be light. Spotting happens when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, and it can be alarming. Light bleeding can come for a few weeks in the first trimester, and that can be upsetting. Since bleeding also could indicate a miscarriage, many women are quick to want to visit the doctor for assurances that everything is OK.
Some women experience a little bleeding at others times during the pregnancy too. At that point, it's important to alert the doctor so he can check to make sure that mom and baby are OK.
19 Setting Up Appointments
The first call to the obstetrician can be really exciting. Even if the doctor is the same that the woman sees for her annual pap smear, calling to tell the doctor's office that she will be a mom soon is a little awkward and a lot amazing.
On the phone, the assistant usually tries to find out when the woman's last menstrual cycle started, so she can set up the first doctor's appointment for around the eight to nine-week mark. Some women insist on an earlier appointment, especially if there is a concern.
But after that first appointment moms can expect to go to the office every month — at least for the first two trimesters and more often after that. There will be a lot of appointments made, and that might require a lot of calls to the doctor's office.
18 Medication Concerns
Future moms learn quickly that there are a lot of no-nos to their life. The nurse goes through a long list of food and medications that they can't consume during pregnancy.
And at the initial doctor's appointment, it's important to talk about any medications that the mom is on to decide whether she should stop taking them. But inevitably a question comes up and moms need to call the doctor's office.
A lot of women get stuffy noses when they are pregnant, just because their nasal passages get swollen. They might want to take a decongestant. But it won't do any good, and it might actually hurt the baby. The same is true in a lot of other cases, although there are times when things like antibiotics are necessary.
Moms should call the doctor's office whenever they have a question about medications since it's better to be safe than sorry.
17 A Big Headache
There are some pregnancy symptoms that women expect to suffer from, such as morning sickness and backaches. But they might be really surprised the first time they come down with a debilitating headache, and many are quick to call the doctor when it happens.
That's OK — there can be a danger of a bad headache, especially when it comes with extreme swelling and high blood pressure. It could be a sign of the potentially harmful preeclampsia.
But headaches can also just be a symptom of the fact that moms have to deal with more blood in their bodies and more stress during those critical nine months. Sometimes a headache is just a headache, though, and moms should even try to avoid an over-the-counter pill and just deal with it.
16 Morning Sickness Relief
Morning sickness is a fact of life for some pregnant women. It's an issue that impacts more than half of women, causing some to feel nauseated throughout their first trimester and others to spend a lot of time throwing up in the toilet. It might seem like they are out of luck and have to power through, but in the most severe cases, moms need to call the doctor.
Women with hyperemesis gravidarum might end up in the hospital with their severe morning sickness. While a number of women lose a few pounds in early pregnancy, some might end up with such severe sickness that they end up dehydrated, which can be really dangerous for the mom and the baby.
There are some solutions for morning sickness that doctors might be able to recommend, and in the serious cases, the doctor needs to be involved. So don't hesitate to call the doctor's office if you need some help getting through nausea.
15 Spiking A Fever
A mom-to-be is already not feeling so great when she is pregnant, but unfortunately, when she is pregnant her immunity is also down. That means that she is more likely to get sick. A cold might make her miserable, but when she spikes a fever, it's time to call the doctor.
Fevers can be a problem for the developing baby, especially in the first trimester. The doctor is definitely going to want to start treatment right away and monitor mom's situation so that she can get well and the baby won't be impacted. Mom's body is already working overtime to nourish and grow a tiny human, and being sick can be a spoiler.
So it's good to have the doctor on call when the fever spikes.
14 A Major Toothache
Moms-to-be might expect to have some pains and aches in their body while pregnant, but they might be thrown for a loop when they get a major toothache. But that is actually a common ailment for a lot of pregnant women, as the amount of bacteria increases and a lot of women end up needing cavities filled or even crowns.
A lot of women are concerned about going to the dentist while pregnant, especially since there are usually some x-rays involved and the painkillers might seem questionable. The first call might go to their OB, and the second will be to the dentist.
Although some might delay procedures in the first trimester, it's usually considered safe to get things taken care of after that.
13 Round Ligament Pains
A little bit of swelling in the feet and a sore back is one thing, but when a mom-to-be experiences a sharp pain in her belly for the first time, it can be pretty alarming. The pain often causes women to call their doctor's office. But luckily, they can usually be assured that they are OK.
Round ligament pain can be a surprising and worrisome pregnancy symptom, but it just comes with the territory when the baby bump grows. The ligament is what holds the uterus in place, and it can get tugged when a mom shifts position. This is the kind of phone call that ends the way the doctor likes — with him reassuring mom that all is well with her and with the baby.
12 Importance Of Mental Health
The truth is that there are not as many calls to the doctor about mental health questions as about physical health ones. But we wanted to include this section because it is important for future moms to know that their doctor is there to help them get the treatment they need for any issue, and it's just as critical to get well mentally.
Pregnancy hormones can cause pregnancy depression, OCD and other issues that moms might not expect to encounter until after the birth. While some women might worry about using prescription medication because of the concern for the baby, doctors have found through research that there is just as much danger in leaving a mom-to-be to suffer through mental health issues.
So please call the doctor and discuss how to get well physically and psychologically.
11 Bathroom Issues
A lot can happen in the bathroom when you are pregnant — or even before you get to it. It's common for women to experience frequent urination because of the increased hormones and the pressure of the baby on the bladder. But if it's painful, then it's definitely time to call the doctor.
Painful urination can be a symptom of a yeast infection or urinary tract infection, which are common during pregnancy and need treatment so that the infection doesn't get to the baby. Future moms can also get constipated during pregnancy because digestion slows. Sometimes it's just an annoyance, but it's a good idea to talk to the doctor about any worries about that as well.
10 Did Her Water Break?
One of the most anticipated events of pregnancy is worrying about when the mom's water will break. But let's face it — it can actually be harder than a future mom might expect to figure out if it has happened to her. Things can leak from that area at a point where she might wonder if it's an accident or the amniotic fluid.
Moms who wonder if their water broke do need to call the doctor. There is a test that can determine if there are amniotic cells in the cervix. And if the water did break and labour hasn't begun, the doctor needs to have a conversation about starting Pitocin because of the possibility of infection (as long as it isn't too early).
Moms need an answer to this question, for sure, but the truth is that it's rare for women to have their water break before labour begins.
9 Anxious About Results
Future moms go through a lot of tests during pregnancy. From ultrasounds to amniocentesis and the dreaded glucose tolerance test, these medical tests can be nerve-wracking, especially when the results could mean an issue for the mom or the baby to deal with or that could be really devastating.
Many times, the results aren't available immediately, and moms can get really anxious awaiting the results. That's when they start blowing up the doctor's office's line to try to get answers. We don't blame moms for wanting answers quickly but don't stress too much since anxiety can be hard on the baby too.
8 Changes Down Below
Moms don't get a lot of glimpses at what is going on down below after six months or so, and that can be a good thing. There are times when things can be a little alarming, and when a woman sees what is going on, she might just call the doctor because that area is so important to giving birth.
A lot of blood rushes to the area during pregnancy, which means that things can look really swollen and even blue. Mom or her husband might get concerned, but it can actually enhance pleasure for a while.
We also want to note that a growing number of cases of transmitted infections have come up during pregnancy because women don't use protection while pregnant. That can lead to blinding or even death for the baby, so be sure to get treatment immediately if you notice an outbreak.
7 Kick Counts
Toward the end of pregnancy, the doctor asks a future mom to keep track of the baby's movements. He has her make sure that she feels the baby move around by counting how often he kicks in a period of time, several times a day. While kick counting can be very valuable in saving lives if there is a last-minute complication, the process can really be stressful. A lot of moms call their doctors panicked because of it.
The truth is that babies do sleep, even in the womb. So there are periods of low activity. Often the mom just needs some assurance that everything is OK, but it can be really scary when the expectations are high. There might be one or two calls or even five or six panicked calls before the birth — and sometimes the mom will start to feel the baby kick right in the middle of them.
6 Swelling Concerns
Swelling is a pretty big issue for pregnant women. With the excess water in the body and the strain of pregnancy, a lot of women end each day of the third trimester with swollen ankles, and sometimes it's so extreme that you can see the swelling in the face and all around the body.
As uncomfortable as normal pregnancy swelling can be, a sudden and extreme amount of swelling can be a sign that the mom's and baby's health are at risk. It can be a symptom of preeclampsia, which can be fatal for both, so many women call their doctors if they sense that their swelling is getting out of hand. It's a good reason to call the doctor since it could save the lives of mom and baby.
5 Braxton Hicks Scare
When moms hit the eight-month mark or so, they can get pretty on edge. Every twinge might seem like a sign that labour is imminent, and just about each one might cause her to hit speed dial for her doctor's office.
Many women call in wondering if they are having contractions. But doctors have a lot more patience than moms. They know the right questions to ask to help mom figure out if her labour is real or if it is Braxton Hicks.
True labour contractions come at regular intervals and they will increase in intensity and frequency over time. If moms listen to the doctor during those fateful phone calls and watch for consistency in their contractions, they might save themselves an unnecessary trip to the hospital.
4 Itchy Situation
Future moms spend a lot of time talking to their doctors during appointments about annoying pregnancy symptoms. But sometimes things come up between appointments that just drive them so crazy that they need answers. That's why a lot of moms-to-be end up calling the doctor about itching issues during pregnancy.
The skin can stretch over the baby bump as it expands, and that can cause some pretty serious itching. Sometimes, though, things get even worse. There are some conditions that cause itching issues, including liver failure. So it is a good idea to call the doctor right away if the issue gets out of control.
3 Interviewing Pediatricians
By the end of the pregnancy, the obstetrician isn't the only doctor whose number should be in a future mom's phone. She needs to start calling pediatrician's offices to set up interviews a few months before the birth.
A newborn needs to see his own doctor within a few days of coming home from the hospital to make sure that he is growing and avoiding jaundice. So moms need to make their choice ahead of time. She needs to make sure that the pediatrician takes her insurance and agrees with her on vaccination decisions. Sometimes parents just don't click with certain doctors, so it's better to talk to ahead of time.
Some pediatrician's offices aren't accepting new clients, so planning ahead is definitely the right choice. Lots of moms have questions and concerns in the first few months, even with a healthy newborn, so establishing a relationship before the birth is a great idea.
2 Reviewing The Birth Plan
The closer a future mom gets to giving birth, the more questions that she has. It's important for her to discuss her choices and expectations for labour and delivery with the doctor to make sure that they are on the same page, but sometimes she doesn't remember all of her topics during her appointments.
Many moms make some phone calls at the end of pregnancy to make sure that they have their questions answered. They may have to settle for talking to the nurse, but she might be really concerned about getting a note to the doctor, especially when a mom is worried she might end up in the hospital before she sees the doctor again.
1 It's Time
That last call to the doctor's office can be the most exciting and the most anxious. In the end, a future mom has to call the doctor to let him know that it's time to have a baby and she is heading toward the hospital. Whether it happens in the middle of the night or during the regular office hours, mom has to alert her healthcare provider so he can meet her at the hospital.
During this critical call, the doctor will ask about the contractions — how far apart they are and if they are coming in regularly. And he'll ask if the water broke, and if it has, mom needs to be prepared to talk about the colour, the smell and anything else worth noting. This can help the doctor plan his treatment, possibly even before the mom arrives. We're sure moms will feel excited and nervous, just like just about every other call to the doctor that happens during pregnancy.