Being a mom is not an easy job. Being pregnant isn't much easier and is undoubtedly stressful when the next nine months rely on how well a woman takes care of herself. Luckily, this is why we have doctors who have studied all things childbirth, so that when we need a second (or first!) opinion, someone is there. However, sometimes knowing that a doctor is available to answer all a mom-to-be's questions isn't as comforting to some as it is to others. Moms can occasionally go rogue and forgo the opinions of a doctor, a decision that can be costly.
It's actually far more common than any of us realize for an expectant mother to avoid the recommendation from her doctor. The reasoning behind doing this can be anything, from insurance costs to personal beliefs and even her own stubborn attributes. Regardless of the reason, sometimes we just need to step back and acknowledge what our doctors tell us — even if we're not keen on following the advice — because it can be beneficial in the long run.
We've found 20 of the biggest things that moms opt out of while pregnant, as well as the most common reasoning behind each one. Let's just say that the doctors behind these decisions would be less than thrilled to have a mom-to-be opting out of them...
20 Avoiding Hospital Delivery... For The Wrong Reasons
Many women prefer the idea of a home birth of a hospital delivery, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. When done safely and professionally through a Douala or midwife, home birth can be a satisfying, natural, and nice experience for a new mother. The trouble arises when a mom-to-be chooses a home birth without being prepared, and for all the wrong reasons. One of these may include having poor or no insurance, which leaves them with a whopper of a hospital bill after they give birth. Another reason may be that their insurance doesn't cover the costs entirely — in which case inquiring about a payment plan might be a worthy venture. Either way, doctors do not recommend this for moms who could be at-risk.
19 Routine Visits Every Four To Two Weeks
Routine checkups with an OB/GYN aren't mandatory for expectant mothers, but they are highly recommended by almost every attending doctor. It's not so much that they anticipate a problem with the pregnancy, but it's a preventative measure to ensure that no problem arises. Routine visits can become a bit of an inconvenience, especially to a busy mom, but they're the best thing for both mom and baby. Doctors will be able to monitor progress easier as well as test for certain things with every few weeks that pass, much of which a mom will miss if they skip out on one or all of these routine visits.
18 High Insurance Costs Could Keep Mom-To-Be From Heading Into The Hospital Right Away
It sounds strange, but sometimes expecting parents can avoid going to the hospital immediately in the event that a hospital charges per day. Many hospitals will charge for the same day if a mom happens to come in just before or just after midnight. It might not sound like a big deal to pay for an extra day, but that one day can add up to hundreds of dollars if insurance does not cover it. This could lead to parents waiting until the very last minute to head in, simply because the worry of costly hospital bills keeps them from going to the hospital as soon as their water breaks. If a complication does arise, the last place you want to be is at home rather than in the hospital where help is immediately available.
17 An Epidural Can Be Recommended, But Some Moms Insist On A Natural Birth
There's a rather large debate over whether or not epidurals are right for every mother. They're certainly not necessary by any means and many expectant mothers do choose to opt out in order to have a "natural birthing" experience. Contrary to popular belief, however, choosing an epidural does not make giving birth any less natural. Every woman is different and her experience should be up to her, unless otherwise directed by a doctor. Some moms who are at-risk or experience significant discomfort during labor might be encouraged to use an epidural, and that's perfectly okay. Any woman who gives birth — regardless of how she does it — is a warrior deserving of the title "mom."
16 Preeclampsia Can Be Common But Shouldn't Be Treated At Home
Many women notice the signs of preeclampsia and immediately know what it is before it has even been diagnosed. A common symptom is inflammation, particularly swelling of the legs and feet, otherwise known as edema — fluid buildup in the face, hands or feet. This condition is also responsible for causing high BP which is a cause for concern. While it is fairly normal, it's still something that should not become a "home remedy" type of situation. While swelling can be treated with elevation, loose clothing, and rest, the other symptoms that accompany it should be monitored by a doctor or nurse.
15 Saying 'No' To C-Sections That Play A Vital Role In Safely Delivering A Baby
Another highly-debated subject when it comes to birthing procedures is delivering via C-section. While it can be disappointing for a mom to have her baby via a C-section rather than a natural birth as she had anticipated, rest assured that a doctor would not recommend this without a reason. There are many things that can lead to a mother-to-be needing a C-section. Complications during labor can make an unnatural birth unreasonable, let alone possible. An at-risk mom might be taking an even larger risk if a natural birth puts both her health and her baby's in jeopardy. Sometimes, the baby has simply just grown too big for the birth canal if a mom happens to be petite.
14 OTC Meds Are Not A Substitute For A Doctor's Recommendation
Prescribed methods of treatment can be very, very costly, especially for those who don't have very good insurance or any at all. Sometimes, women will attempt remedying common issues with OTC meds in order to avoid going through both the hassle and cost of an Rx treatment, which can be both risky as well as ineffective. Chances are, if your doctor is prescribing something specific, then it's for a reason. Many women may choose to go the herbal route as well, incorporating holistic methods into their personal treatment. As with anything else during pregnancy, all of these should be discussed with a doctor first... Just because it's good for you, doesn't mean it's interchangeable with a professional recommendation.
13 Vaccines Are Recommended For Medical Reasons, But Many Moms Opt Out
As it stands now, there is no definitive proof linking vaccines to other diseases or disorders developed later on in life. Anti-vaxxers have taken the internet by storm and some have even managed to scare other parents into opting out of vaccines. While it still remains a personal choice in many states, there are more potential risks in choosing to avoid vaccination. Without vaccines, children could be subjected to centuries' old illnesses that a majority of the population is now immune to, such as measles or smallpox. Similar to the flu shot, vaccines are designed to protect people — not to put them at risk for other medical issues in the future. Certain vaccines, such as Tdap, now come highly recommended by doctors.
12 Pap Smears Are Important, Regardless Of Her History
Pap smears aren't the most comfortable thing as far as gynecology visits go, but they are absolutely necessary. Regardless of a gal's personal history, pap smears can tell a doctor numerous things in a process that literally takes a minute or less. It's something that's routine during gynecology visits for women who aren't pregnant as well, so chances are that you'd be having one done either way. While it is something that can be opted out of, there's really no point in doing so — many doctors recommend an annual pap smear regardless of someone's relationship history or the current status of your uterus.
11 Testing For Thyroid Issues And Or Anemia, If The Potential Is There
While not a common issue, thyroid testing is recommended by some doctors, depending on a mother's past medical history. The testing is optional which is why many mothers forgo it but the fact is, bypassing something now can lead to necessary (and sometimes costly) treatment later on. Additionally, testing for anemia is quite common, especially in the first stage of pregnancy. Without knowing it, expectant mothers can become anemic and notice a sudden (drastic) decrease in energy, because they now have another human being utilizing their vitals. A simple test can determine whether anemia can be ruled out and should not be dismissed so easily.
10 Certain Tests Are Imperative For At-Risk Moms, But Many Don't Realize It
At-risk moms can come in any form, from those who fall in an older age bracket to those with a known history of medical issues. The interesting thing about prenatal testing is that every mother is different. This, in turn, means that every test a doctor recommends might be different from one mom to the next — there are many that are simply routine, but a doctor truly knows best when it comes to the personal relationship between mom and baby. Any mom who is 35 years or older could be recommended different tests than a mom who is 24; alternatively, a 24-year-old mom might be at risk for gestational diabetes due to a family history of it.
9 Kegel Exercises Look Funny But Do More Than Many Realize
Another exercise that doctors may recommend is those of the Kegel variety. Kegel is a funny name for exercises having to do with strengthening a woman's pelvic region. During pregnancy, this can help tremendously to make labor go smoothly. By strengthening and actively moving the pelvic floor, muscles are more likely to bend at will and stand up substantially to the pressure put on them during labor. Aside from at-risk moms or those on bed rest, doctors will likely recommend doing these several times a week in preparation for a natural birth, if that's your chosen method of delivery. There's no better labor bragging right than a strong pelvic floor!
8 As Silly As It Sounds, Ice Chips During Labor Really Do Help
Once you've made it to the delivery room, the inevitable wait begins. It's the most stressful and exhilarating part of pregnancy but the reward makes it worth anything in the world. To deal with food cravings as well as hydration, nurses will likely give you ice chips. While it seems like a frustrating replacement for a bowl of warm mac 'n cheese or a milkshake, rest assured that ice chips do serve more than just one purpose. They give your mouth something to do when going through gut-clenching contractions and also provide a cooling sensation that can distract a mom from the challenging parts of labor. Ice chips shouldn't be turned down, even if you think you won't have a use for them.
7 Prenatal Supplements Are A Huge Part Of Pregnancy Care
They're not cheap but they're absolutely necessary. Just like adults need to take vitamins to help in areas where age takes a toll, pregnant women also need to take prenatal vitamins to help their system do its job. A mom-to-be needs daily doses of magnesium, folate, fiber, B-12, and omega-3, just to name a few. These and more can be found in prenatal vitamins which give both mom and baby the nutrients and minerals they need to stay healthy for nine months. Some doctors may even recommend additional supplements based on a woman's medical history and this should be taken into account, too.
6 Avoiding Simple Tests For Things Like Gestational Diabetes
Ah, cravings certainly get the best of us sometimes. While pregnant, many moms don't realize that they're undergoing what's referred to as "gestational diabetes." It's a well-recognized problem that can affect anyone. It occurs when glucose levels fluctuate and, in simple terms, interfere with the insulin and sugar breakdown in a woman's body during pregnancy. This can be treated and can be helped with an adjustment in meal planning, but it must be diagnosed via a test. Doctors may look at a woman's medical history or symptoms and recommend testing, which is done in the first round of testing, according to Boris Petrikovsky, MD, PhD.
5 Even If You Don't Feel Great, Exercise Is Important
Some moms may put themselves on bed rest because they feel especially exhausted or out of shape. While this is okay to do once in a while (you deserve it!), it's likely not okay to do constantly. Most doctors will recommend a steady 30 minutes of light exercise every few days while a woman is pregnant. This not only helps moms to maintain their endurance while pregnant, but will increase circulatory flow, encourage endorphin releases, counteract stiff joints and aches, and can even help soothe away stress and anxiety. Something as simple as walking can do wonders and shouldn't be taken as an optional activity.
4 Don't Forget To Stay Hydrated (Sports Drinks Don't Count!)
Electrolytes are great, but the problem with most sports drinks is the sugar that's also found in them. Water is truly the greatest way to remain hydrated but this is something that many moms don't realize they need more of while pregnant. Even if you're not exercising, water is something that must be on your list of duties every day. If you're not keen on water on its own, adding things such as some lemon slices, berries, or even seltzer water can be a great way to boost the flavor without losing the H2O. Many doctors will recommend keeping a water bottle on hand and it's not a bad idea, even if you don't think you'll need it.
3 Doctors Recommend Low-Impact Activities, But Some Moms Don't Listen
We've all see these crazy videos going around social media about moms who go extra hard at the gym, despite the fact that they're exercising for two. While this can sometimes be okay, many times, there's a great risk in exercising too hard. Depending on a woman's body and how used to certain cardio activities it is, too much strenuous exercise can be very hard on the system, especially in the latter months of pregnancy. Activities such as yoga, light weight lifting, easy cardio, and mom-friendly Pilates should replace high-intensity workouts, at least until several weeks after you've given birth.
2 Seat Belt Safety Should Always Come First
During pregnancy, things that are seemingly harmless -- such as a seat belt -- can become altered in the eyes of a pregnant mama. While it does have the ability to cause damage if worn incorrectly, there is a right way to wear it that will keep both you, and your baby, safe. The lap belt should be below your baby bump and laying on the top of your legs, while the shoulder strap sits firmly across the middle of the chest, ensuring that it's not putting pressure on that precious cargo. Although it seems simple enough to put throw the shoulder strap behind you or not wear a belt at all, doctors will correct you on this a thousand times over.
1 Eating During Labor, Which Might Be So Necessary
Interestingly enough, eating while pregnant was once something that hospitals would not permit. The reasoning behind this was that years ago, the potential was there to put a pregnant woman under anesthesia during labor. While this is done, there was a significant risk of blocked airways due to eating just before giving birth. Nowadays, that's not too much of an issue. While doctors still won't allow you to bring a cheeseburger in with you, they will likely allow clear liquids, popsicles, tea, and Jell-O. This is the case at Clements University Hospital, as research has shown that keeping energy levels up can help moms during a long labor process.
Sources: WomensHealth.gov, Healthline.com, WebMD.com