Communicating with your provider is SUCH an important skill in pregnancy (and the rest of your life). Today I’m going to share 3 tips to make that communication flow a bit more smoothly.
Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 After seeing thousands (literally) of informed consents, I’ve seen lots of ways they are done and I can share some of the best ways to communicate with your provider.
Be sure to grab my hospital packing list while you’re here:
Obviously, your #1 goal is to get a provider you trust. If this isn’t where you find yourself:
- If you’re less than 30 weeks, consider looking for a different provider. This isn’t always an option but for most places you can switch (but you need to aim to do it before 30 weeks, it’s MUCH harder to switch after that).
- If you’re more than 30 weeks you could MAYBE switch, try calling around (however, the grass may not be greener with providers that would accept you).
- If switching isn’t an option, I do think this is a time to consider a doula. Start by asking your provider if they have a list of them they prefer (because no matter what, you want your team to get along).
Honestly, a lot of these techniques are things that doulas will encourage you to do anyway — so you’re already ahead if you consider these things:
Tips for Better Communication with your OB or Midwife
Understand Informed Consent
Informed consent (I have a whole article about it here) involves 3 things:
Remember that almost ALWAYS the risks include “or you could die”.
And if your phone, your mixer, or your car gave you an informed consent every time you turned it on you’d also hear those words.
Because there IS a teeny tiny chance you could die (honestly, in your car your chance is probably the greatest of most L&D scenarios including a cesarean section).
But, so often patients are thrown off by that and immediately chose the one they didn’t mention “you could die” or “your baby could die” on.
Just understand that’s part of it, it’s required for a full informed consent.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Pause
Just like when you’re at a car dealership, don’t be afraid to say that you need some time to talk things over.
Now, they may act like things need to hurry up more than a car dealership, but unless there are a bunch of nurses and staff running around doing stuff, you can likely rest assure you have time.
One of my favorite tactics is to ask if you can use the restroom.
They Think They’re Right
Just like all of us, your doctor/midwife thinks that what they think you should do is right.
Now, good providers will leave all choices up to you, but it is likely that they have a position that they think is what you should do.
And because it’s human nature, when they give their informed consent they may angle it (possibly not even knowing it) for what they think you should do.
In your mind, you can think — Ok, that’s what they think I should do, but what do I think?
It’s really up to you to weigh the risks and the benefits and make an informed choice. BUT, most of all, because these are hard choices that you’re not really always prepared to make — I hope you have a provider you trust. That’s SUCH an asset at times like this.
Another asset is to have an idea of what might end up having during you delivery, which is why I always recommend a prenatal class. At no point in time has high quality prenatal education been easier to get. In just 3 hours I can prepare you and your partner for a confident delivery in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. In fact, I guarantee it. You can even check out the reviews!
If you’re not sure you’re ready for the full class, try my birth toolkit. Tens of thousands of couples love that free mini course and I think you will to. You can sign up right here:
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.