When you go to a doctor, you're expecting nothing but the best medical advice, a professional atmosphere where your concerns are heard, and a safe experience. You shouldn't have to convince your practitioner that what you're feeling is real, and your OB-GYN should know how to answer your pregnancy-related questions and address your concerns. I mean, that's their job, right? To know how to properly diagnose and treat ailments without causing harm? So, yes, there are some things a pregnant woman shouldn't have to explain to her doctors, and these are things every soon-to-be mom should keep in mind when she's trying to find the doctor that will help her through pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
I always say that I'm lucky in that I had an amazing doctor, and a brilliant team behind him, when I went through both of my pregnancies. I felt safe, heard, and empowered every time I left his office. That's how every pregnant woman should feel. There was a time or two, though, when I was left with a different attending doctor that, in my opinion, didn't handle my appointment with as much care as my go-to OB-GYN. It's not that either OB-GYN did anything wrong, but I remember wishing I could re-do those unsettling appointments with my usual doctor.
The thing is, medical records exist for a reason. If I'm in for a standard pregnancy check, and you've never seen me before, flip through the file. I shouldn't have to re-live my miscarriages, or the removal of a cyst-ridden ovary, and the infertility issues I experienced thereafter, in order for a doctor to treat me adequately. So I guess I took for granted the fact that my doctor already knew those things, so I didn't have to recount my medical history for a basic prenatal run through every single time he treated me. With that, here are some things no pregnant woman should ever have to explain to doctors.
Your Medical History (More Than Once)
Look, once should be enough. There's no reason to relive personal and physical traumas over and over again and in the name of adequate medical care. It feels cruel and unnecessary when all the doctor has to do is look through the damn file.
Maybe I'm asking too much, but talking about a pregnancy loss that gutted me years prior doesn't seem like the most necessary part of an exam where all that's to be done is a weight and blood pressure check. Sensitivity to the patient at hand goes a long way.
Why You Need Pain Relief
Isn't it a given that your pregnant self might be uncomfortable and looking forward to the delivery so you can, you know, fee like yourself again. I had one OB-GYN doctor patronize me, though, and essentially felt it necessary to remind me that every woman has similar gripes. Thanks, bro. I know that. I didn't need some dude (who can't experience pregnancy, by the way) tell me that I wasn't special or deserving of relief when it's "part of the process."
Why You've Chosen Certain Things For Labor &Delivery
Whether you prefer to have a natural birth, a water birth, a doula alongside you, a medicated birth, or you're up for scheduling a c-section, it doesn't matter. Whatever your plan is, having a plan is enough. In no way should any mom-to-be feel the need to explain their reasoning, or fight with their provider for what they want.
During my first pregnancy, nearly every part of my birth plan was countered by my OB-GYN with, "Why do you think you need this?" I get that there might be some decisions where doctors have the right to intervene with their own advice, as medical professionals, but not if it's to undermine all the things you wanted for your labor and delivery (within reason).
Why You'd Like A Second Opinion
It should go without saying, but no one — especially pregnant women — should have to explain their desire for a second opinion. If things feel "off" or you've been told things you aren't sure of, it's OK to see another doctor for another perspective.
This is why I liked that my doctor was part of an interchangeable team. Though I'd been labeled high-risk with my second, if/when one of the other doctors told me something — such as my amniotic fluid had leaked so much and loss of the baby was likely — I could defer back to my usual doctor to get his view. Regardless, I didn't owe a "why" to anyone.
Personal Or Financial Details That Have Nothing To Do With The Exam
Ugh. It's a real downer to have to go into the kind of details that either should've been taken care of before you're in the exam room, or back at home once the doctor visit is over. Social security numbers don't have a place in the room when my legs are in the stirrups, and answering any personal questions you're not comfortable with — that have no bearing on the health of you or the baby — aren't cool.
You don't have to explain why you're not with the father, how much money you make, or really anything you're not comfortable with. If you have a doctor pressing for answers to these specific and unnecessary questions (that, again, aren't relevant to the pregnancy itself), it might be time to find a new doctor.
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