The last scheduled prenatal appointment is a time of excitement and anticipation for most mothers-to-be because they know it is not long before their water (hopefully) breaks by itself and labor begins, which means they will finally be able to welcome their little boy or girl into the world after nine very long months.
Despite the excitement of the impending labor and finding out when the doctor would like to see them for a checkup after mom has successfully delivered her baby, there are some very important questions that mom also needs to remember to ask her doctor about.
For example, Kidspot points out that different doctors will have different thoughts on inducing labor as well as the methods they prefer to use, and it is very important to find out what the ob-gyn thinks of this process before the due date.
That way, if something goes haywire during the big day, mom will know exactly what to expect because the doctor has told them when they would get the ball rolling for the labor process and what tools they’d use to get the process started.
Read below to find out how mothers-to-be can prepare themselves for the big day.
20 Whether Or Not The Doctor Will Induce Labor
WebMD notes that at the last appointment, it is a good idea for moms-to-be to broach the topic of whether or not there is a chance of having to have labor induced.
Some doctors are more old-fashioned when it comes to inducing labor in a pregnant woman and refuse to give them the necessary meds required to kick start the process unless it is absolutely 100 percent necessary. Other doctors will tell their patients that if labor hasn’t started after a certain amount of time, then they should head to the hospital and get what they need in order to get the labor ball rolling.
19 If There Is A Chance That Mom Will Need A C-Section
The March of Dimes points out that at this last appointment, it is a good idea to see whether or not the ob-gyn thinks that having a C-section performed will be necessary and if so, if the mother in question should schedule one beforehand, just to be on the safe side.
During this doctor’s visit, the ob-gyn should be able to tell their patient if they can handle giving birth the regular way or if they could potentially need a C-section if something goes haywire during labor so that the mother-to-be can start planning and preparing for the big day.
18 What Activities Are Safe As The Countdown To Labor Arrives
Very Well Family notes that moms-to-be should also pick their doctor’s brain about what activities they are able to do while they wait for labor to start and what they should avoid. For example, some mothers want to work right up until their due date arrives and they need to find out from their doctor if they have any health concerns that might make this plan impossible.
In general, Aaptive adds that unless mom has a high-risk pregnancy or serious health concerns, the ob-gyn will tell them that they can do certain activities such as low-impact exercise and even heading to work until it’s time for the baby to come out.
17 What To Do When Labor Actually Starts
Since there are different stages of labor and some hospitals will not admit moms-to-be until they have reached a certain point in the process, it is a good idea to have a chat with the ob-gyn to find out when mom should head to the hospital.
Am. Pregnancy points out that the first stage, known as early labor, is when contractions start and the body dilates to only three centimeters. Most doctors will tell their patients to start heading to the hospital once their water breaks or their contractions start becoming longer and closer together, which is a sign that mom has moved from early labor into the stage known as active labor.
16 Tips On Starting To Breastfeed Baby
Many people erroneously believe that breastfeeding a baby is a natural process that requires no effort whatsoever on the part of both the mother and the infant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Some infants and their mothers get the hang of the process right away while others need a bit of guidance.
The Bump recommends that moms-to-be ask their ob-gyn for tips on breastfeeding an infant, especially if they are first-time mothers because there is a good chance that they will forget to ask for pointers in the hustle and bustle of the hours and even days after giving birth. It is best to ask for some tips now while they can still remember them and jot them down for safekeeping.
15 If The Hospital Allows Eating Foods And Drinking Liquids During Labor
Even first-time mothers have an inkling that labor is going to be a long and often tedious process, during which they will require some sustenance in the form of foods to eat and liquids to drink. During the last pre-natal appointment, moms-to-be should find out if the hospital or birthing center allows laboring women to have something to eat or drink in the room or if that is not allowed.
The Bump writes that in general, most hospitals discourage pregnant woman from having something to drink or chowing down on a meal when they’re in their room during active labor, although recent studies have shown that allowing moms in labor to stay hydrated and well-fueled makes the process easier and there’s a chance that eventually the trend will change in the near future.
14 Whether The Doctor Has To Poke At The Membranes
Another good thing to find out during this pivotal last doctor’s appointment before the big day is whether or not the ob-gyn thinks that they will have to perform a procedure if labor is taking its sweet time to start on the projected due date.
WebMD points out that this procedure involves the doctor gently sweeping a gloved finger over the space between the baby’s amniotic sac. The reason why this procedure is usually done is because it has been known to kick start a woman’s body into going into labor by releasing the hormones that start the entire process.
13 What Items To Bring To The Hospital With You On The Big Day
WebMD writes that moms-to-be should also make a reminder to themselves to ask their doctor what items they will need to bring with them to the hospital once their body goes into the active labor phase.
In general, most doctors tell their patients that they need to have a car seat for newborns installed in the car before mom heads to the hospital. Mothers-to-be should also make sure that their overnight bag is packed with necessary items such as nursing bras, toiletries, some snacks and a spare charger for their smartphone or other device so that they don’t get too bored in the hospital room.
12 Crafting A Game Plan If Baby Is Overdue
Café Mom urges mothers-to-be to ask their ob-gyn what the game plan will be if their due date arrives and leaves with no sign of labor and the little one could be overdue.
Depending on the doctor and the patient’s history as well as their current health, their ob-gyn might come up with a plan to induce labor using certain meds to soften up the cervix and get the woman’s body to start the process ASAP. Other doctors might try to poke at the membranes in the amniotic sac to start labor, although this particular method doesn’t always work for every mother.
11 The Signs Of Labor That Mom Needs To Watch Out For
Even first-time mothers know that one key sign that the baby is on his or her way is when her water breaks during labor, but that is not the only telltale sign and it is important to ask the ob-gyn at the 40-week appointment what other signs to keep a weather eye out for.
What To Expect adds that many women experience a phenomenon known as the baby dropping lower in preparation for their exit two to four weeks before labor starts as well as strong, frequent contractions in active labor. They might also experience a very upset stomach or feel as if their joints are very loose.
10 The Number Of People Allowed In The Delivery Room
Both sides of the happy parents-to-be’s families usually want to be involved during the big day and tend to drive mom and dad up a wall because they are constantly asking them if they can be in the room when their future grandchild arrives in the world.
Very Well Family writes that moms should take some time during the last appointment to find out what the hospital or birth center’s policy is on the amount of people they can have in the room with them. Most places allow moms to invite up to three people, although it depends depending on the size of the room and there are some hospitals that allow more people to enter the room after mom has started to push.
9 Creating A Back-Up Plan If The Birth Plan Goes Sideways
According to Kidspot, it is very important that mothers-to-be ask their ob-gyn what they should do if the labor and birth do not go according to plan. Ideally, giving birth shouldn’t have too many bumps in the road, but let’s face it, sometimes Mother Nature likes to throw a curveball at moms.
American Pregnancy notes that during the discussion with the doctor, moms should craft a birth plan for the best case scenario as well as an emergency plan, which includes items such as figuring out transport to the hospital just in case something goes haywire in the labor process.
8 Recommendations For Pain Relief Options In Labor
Mayo Clinic notes that moms-to-be should also ask their doctor about what kinds of pain relief will be available to them once labor begins and given their medical history and current state of health, which ones they would recommend that they use during the big day.
In general, there are three main ways to ease pain during labor, but each woman will have a different reaction to them depending on her body chemistry. The first is by giving the woman an epidural to block the pain in the entire lower half of her body, the second is by using a spinal to numb the sensations right before delivery and the third involves using a gas mask filled with nitrous oxide whenever mom feels the pain of the contractions is too much.
7 How Long They Need To Stay In The Hospital After Giving Birth
In most movies and television shows featuring a character that has just recently given birth, it often appears as if the new mother is able to leave the hospital with her bundle of joy a few hours or even a day after giving birth. In real life, this tends to not happen.
Baby Center recommends asking the ob-gyn how long they’ll have to stay in the hospital after they give birth. Of course, this is a ballpark estimate since it depends on whether they get a C-section or give birth naturally as well as if any unexpected issues crop up. In general, most moms and babies tend to stay a few days in the hospital to recover and monitor for any health issues.
6 If The Doctor Thinks The Water Will Break
Pop culture is filled with movies and television shows that feature a pregnant character realizing that she is about to give birth when her water breaks—often in a dramatic and unexpected way. Kidspot notes that mothers should also inquire of their doctor about whether or not they think that mom’s waters will break.
What To Expect adds that only 15 percent of women experience their water breaking naturally (most of the time, it’s ruptured by the doctor) and when it does occur, it’s not the dramatic scene that appears in pop culture that leaves mom’s clothes soaked. Instead, the water breaking usually appears in the form of a slow trickle.
5 Discussing The Method The Doctor Plans To Use If Induction's Needed
Being forewarned is being forearmed, which is why it is a very good idea to ask the doctor about what methods they will use if it turns out that the baby doesn’t want to come out on the projected due date and labor has to be induced.
American Pregnancy writes that most doctors have their own preferred method, but will take into account the patient’s medical history and their current health status. In general, there are several ways to kickstart labor but the most popular way is by giving mom certain meds that help make more of the hormones that control contractions.
4 If The Doctor Will Perform An Episiotomy
The Mayo Clinic points out that the episiotomy used to be considered a routine part of childbirth, but many medical practitioners are moving away from it and will only perform one in certain cases—hence the need to ask the ob-gyn if they feel mom will need one.
In the past, episiotomies were performed because the doctors believed it helped with tearing during labor but new scientific research has debunked that claim. Nowadays, many doctors only use this method for certain health issues that pop up during labor and delivery. For example, if the infant’s shoulder gets wedged during delivery and they have to maneuver him or her to get “unstuck.”
3 If The Doctor Will Go Over The Birth Plan With Them
What To Expect adds that birth plans are a way for mom to clearly lay out and communicate her wishes, wants and desires for how she (ideally) wants her labor to play out in the best case scenario. It is a good idea to ask the doctor at the final appointment if he or she will review the birth plan with mom so that she knows they are both on the same page and they can inform her if the hospital’s policy does not allow something.
For example, mom might want to have a birthing tub in the room with her, but there’s always the chance that the hospital cannot accommodate her wishes for one reason or another. It’s best if mom finds out beforehand so she can make reasonable changes to her birth plan before the big day arrives.
2 What Stretches They Can Perform In The Last Weeks Of Pregnancy
Whether or not mom-to-be decides to keep working out during the final weeks of pregnancy, most women feel as if their body is tight and cramped as they eagerly countdown the days until the big event arrives.
Healthline notes that if mom feels a bit achy then they should ask their doctor if they can recommend any stretches that they can perform to keep themselves limber as they wait for their due date. Most doctors recommend that moms-to-be do simple yoga moves such as “cat-cow” or a modified “half pigeon” because it helps to ease pain in the lower back and strengthens the muscles they will be using during childbirth.
1 If They Can Recommend Any Tips For Dealing With Post-Baby Blues
In movies and television shows, moms are often portrayed as having an instant and undeniable bond with their newborn right after they make their way into the world, but real life is obviously a bit different and some mothers come down with the post-baby blues.
Very Well Mind writes that moms should make a note to ask their doctor at the last prenatal appointment about the different kinds of post-baby blues, the signs that a new mom might have this issue, and the treatment they recommend if they wind up coming down with this problem. They might not need it after meeting their child, but it is always better to play it safe than to be sorry.
Sources: WebMD, Kidspot, Cafe Mom, Tommy.org, Aaptiv, Very Well Family, The Bump, What To Expect, American Pregnancy, Mayo Clinic, Baby Center, Healthline, Very Well Mind.