Choosing an OBGYN is a tedious and emotional exercise that takes a lot more than saying, ‘I will be attending my prenatal at Our Lady of Mercy.’ Choosing the person who will walk that journey with mom and who will have full access to her system is as difficult as choosing a spouse, and it requires some patience, research, as well as an open mind. All in all, it is a very personal decision.
More often than not, women realize in their first consultation that the OBGYN is not someone they can walk the journey with, and have to start the same process all over again. Most of us choose a doctor because of his or her openness and ability to make us feel safe and secure. Even though a doctor’s primary concern is to ensure that the mother-to-be has a healthy and safe delivery, they still have to keep in mind the likelihood of lawsuits and to safeguard their profit margins. For these reasons, doctors have been known to keep mum about some things. Patients have a lot of expectations centered on their doctors and, while most of these expectations are met, a lot of things are left to them to figure out on their own.
So, here are 20 things the hospitals make new moms figure out for themselves!
20 Your Baby May Not Be That Big
When a woman is pregnant and is attending her prenatal clinics, the doctor is likely to tell you the size of the baby as per the ultrasound that will be what determines the medical intervention your doctor will choose for you. Some doctors, based on this are likely to suggest that the mother undergo an induction or a C-section or in other cases, "the cut."
According to Fox News, “If your provider tells you that your baby is “big,” realize that size and weight are only estimates. Ultrasounds can be off by as much as a pound or two, especially in the last weeks.” For this reason, it is not necessary to concede to the interventions without giving yourself time to go the natural way.
19 You Don't Have to Push
The worry most of us experience is not being sure how hard to push, when and for how long. Doctors will not tell you this but the truth is, a woman does not really need to push.
The body knows when it is time eject the baby from the womb like Tracy Donegan, a midwife explains: “Much like your gag reflex, the fetal ejection reflex helps your body birth your baby. The top of the uterus starts to get thicker and thicker and it almost rolls up behind your baby like a tube of toothpaste. Once the baby’s head triggers that reflex, it starts to push your baby out. It literally ejects your baby.”
18 Waxing Isn’t Necessary
We all want to look our best and the thought of labor and childbirth makes us feel shy. It is this thought that has women in their last week of pregnancy enduring a very painful Brazilian wax as well as that French pedicure and manicure just to look their best. The truth is, the doctors do not care whether one is completely waxed or spotting a forest, not even whether one has showered or not.
The wax and the manicure may make the woman feel extremely good and confident in herself, but doctors are not looking. They are all interested in the baby and no one cares what that area looks like.
17 You Can Eat During Labor
Most hospital policies prohibit eating during labor and the doctor will not tell you that eating during labor is not wrong even without the policy. The reason this restriction exists is that there is a risk in case of a C-section of the woman aspirating food.
If one gets hungry during labor she should, by all means, eat something. What one should ensure though is that what goes in is not too fatty because digestion slows down during labor and it can obstruct natural labor, as well as a C-section. Too much food will also be a cause of those embarrassing bathroom moments none of us want to think of.
16 You Might Do Some Embarrassing Things During Labor
Aka. you might go #2 and vomit! There is a well-kept secret among mothers that is barely talked of until you go through the Internet and mothers’ forums and you are like, “I really do not want to go through that!” When the baby is making his way out, chances of the pregnant woman going number two are high. This is because the baby tends to push on the rectum on his way out, pushing anything in there out. For the last week or two before labor, mothers are advised to eat foods high in fiber to help with digestion, as constipation can obstruct labor. But this should not worry you, no-one will mention it and it remains the labor room secret.
15 Your Doctor Or Nurse May Have Messed Up Your Meds
Patients have the tendency to blindly trust their doctors and are prone to accept any meds or procedures carried out on them without a second thought and without question. Here is the shocker, before anyone pops that pill, it is important to check the label again next to the doctors notes.
According to Fox News, Dr. Sagar Nigwekar, co-author of Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor advises: “Suspect a slip-up? Ask to see your doctor's notes. (some hospitals are adopting an "open notes" policy.) Scan for phrases like "incident report," "near miss," or "risk management." These often code for medical errors. Know what you are being given and why. Don’t be shy, your questions could save your life.
14 Your Medical Records are Not Confidential
A woman has this infection or has a really embarrassing labor moment that is out of this world and she hopes against hope that at least that part of the experience will remain in her records, after all, there is something called "doctor-patient confidentiality."
To burst that bubble, Joel Winston, a New York City attorney who specializes in health care law, says, "A single hospital visit can trigger an avalanche of information that spreads among doctors, specialists, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, care providers, billing companies, and electronic-health-record providers — just to name a few." This means that a patient’s records are open to scrutiny by a number of people.
13 The Call Button Isn't A Surefire SOS
The confidence a woman gets lying on her hospital bed is that she has a call button and can call for help and it will appear ASAP to deal with some of the issues disturbing her. Unfortunately, this confidence is ill-advised as the nurses, as well as the doctors, are all overflowing with call buttons flaring up from all over the hospital.
Hitting the call button does not mean they will rush to you and chances are, the patient may have to wait for upwards of 15 minutes before anyone comes to help. This is why it is important for one to have a birth companion who will rush to get help if need be.
12 You're Sharing The Nurse With Other Patients
The most important people in any medical facility next to the doctors are the nurses. They are also the least appreciated, most overworked people in the hospitals. Unfortunately, whenever a hospital is overflowing and has to undergo budget cuts, the axe falls on the nurses. This means that one nurse may have to care for more than one patient. Hospitals will not share this information with the mom and it will be up to her to deduce this and get prepared. A woman in labor doesn't really want to share and this is why it is advisable to have a midwife or birth companion with you to help cover the shortfall.
11 Hospital Food Can Be Toxic
Most people abhor hospital food and for good reason. Even though most hospitals have a policy against home cooked meals, what they serve can make you sick, but no-one will tell you that.
According to Healthy Way, one of the chefs gave an insight on this matter saying: "My job as a head chef now is to take the plastic trays out of the freezer and slide them onto one of the dozens of racks inside the ‘regen trolley.’ There’s space for 30 meals. I then press a button for the trolley to ‘regenerate,’ or reheat, the meals for 90 minutes until they’re piping hot.”
10 Your Doctor's Hands May Harbour Germs
No-one ever thinks of this and most of us do not expect to get sick from the doctor's hands, after all, he is the doctor and his job is to make us well. According to CBS News, “One of the most important tools for protecting patients against hospital-acquired infections is also one of the simplest, washing with soap.
Health care providers are supposed to wash their hands immediately before they touch a patient. But how can you be sure there are no germs on the hands of the smiling doctor who just entered your room? If you do not see your clinician wash their hands, ask.”
9 ER Waits Are Getting Longer
Hospitals give an emergency number in case of an emergency and they also have an ER where mom can rush to in case of an emergency. It may be an emergency room, but mom should not expect her emergency to be handled that fast.
According to Fox News, "The principle of supply and demand doesn't apply in the ER. The number of visits in the U.S. rose by a third from 1999 to 2009, while 158 hospital ERs, roughly 3 percent, closed between 1998 and 2008. Not surprisingly, wait times have grown by 25 percent; long stretches spent waiting in the ER have been linked to higher rates of hospital admissions and deaths."
8 Sanitize Everything
Every mom knows that she needs to sanitize everything where babies are concerned. According to Kaivac, what they do not know is that even in a sterile looking hospital, germs are all over the waiting room and in the doctor’s office. This is because people with varying germs go through the waiting room and that cool looking magazine or that toy in the waiting room could be laden with germs.
This is where mothers have to make wet wipes their friend and ensure they wipe the surface, as well as anything the baby will come in contact with. Carrying a small bottle of sanitizer with you will save you another trip to the doctor's office with an infection collected from the waiting room.
7 VIP Patients May Affect Other Patient’s Care
If a mother visits the same hospital as a VIP patient, chances are, the doctors will give the patient all the priority. This little fact is kept secret by the hospitals and no one will ever admit to it. It is not that they will neglect the other patients care, but the truth is, hospitals are all about the bottom line and who is bringing in more dollars.
VIP patients become a priority and the doctors are expected to keep them happy. This may mean that the nurse will rush to the VIP patient before she comes to you and your doctor may take a while longer as he caters to the other patient's needs.
6 Too Much Rest Can Impede Recovery
Doctors have been known to dish out the same advice to all their patients. “You need to rest in order to recover.” Mothers who undergo a C-section are told to refrain from working for up to three months, while those who have a natural birth are advised to take it easy for as much as two weeks. What the doctors fail to tell us is that too much rest can slow down recovery. A mom who decides to rest and wait for the wound to heel finds that it is still fresh and oozy two weeks after the procedure. To speed up recovery, try and walk around for a bit and get your blood flowing. It will help heal time.
5 Trainee Doctors Look The Same As Doctors in Charge
Another well-kept hospital secret is that the doctor treating you may be in training (a resident finishing the last years of their training). The white lab coat does not mean he is a fully fledged doctor but in a hospital with a shortage of staff and a bloated patient ratio, chances are, they will let the doctors in training take charge of the less serious patients.
This does not mean that the care one receives is lacking in any way but it does mean that in terms of experience, yours may be the first case of mumps that this doctor comes across and a routine checkup may be turned into a learning session.
4 You Don’t Need a Spotlight
Most of us have this idea that the doctors will need some kind of spotlight to see in there as the baby crowns. We imagine the kind of spotlight Beyoncé dances to pointed into our nether regions and we cringe. For others, the thought of that spotlight makes us feel a little bit more secure knowing someone will be looking in there to see what is happening. Women get surprised when they go into that labor ward and they discover that the doctor doesn’t need a spotlight to see.
This does come as a welcome surprise to some, as let's face it, too many eyes down there, even if we are in the throes of labor is still not so comforting.
3 Don’t Invite Too Many People
The excitement of a new baby makes most of us giddy with happiness and we are prone to make the mistake of welcoming the whole village to come and witness the birth. Labor wards are not a place for visitors and apart from the birth companion one has, the rest of the people will not be allowed into the labor ward and they will also not be allowed to come in to see the baby all at once.
Hospitals will not prevent you from inviting all your relatives, but when they get there, you will realize that some will not be able to come in.
2 You Can’t be Admitted Unless You are Really Sick
Sometimes we feel that our babies are sick and the only place they can get help is a hospital. Mothers tend to overreact and the fear of losing our babies is real at all times. Mild infections have us running into the ER hoping to see the doctor and it is not surprising to find a mother who rushes to the ER three or four times in a week.
What we learn the minute we get to the ER hoping that at least our babies will be admitted and are near a doctor to ease our fear is that they cannot get admitted unless they are really sick. If a patient is released, it is good news as it means that he is not that sick.
1 Teaching Hospitals Are Better
No hospital will admit to this but the truth is, teaching hospitals provide the best care for their patients. In teaching hospitals, the next generation of cutting-edge doctors is being trained and the best discoveries in medical care are made.
According to the New York Times, “One answer is provided in a new study of over 21 million hospital visits paid for by Medicare in 2012 and 2013. Teaching hospitals save lives. For every 83 elderly patients seen by a major teaching hospital, one more is alive 30 days after discharge than if those patients had been admitted to a non-teaching hospital. This is a large mortality effect.”