Here's How You Can Empower Yourself During Pregnancy

"It’s no secret that Black women are often treated differently than their white peers—this is especially true for Black moms. According to the American Medical Association, Black women are up to six times more likely to die from childbirth complications. This number isn’t even counting maternal morbidity (mental illness or physical disability caused by complications during childbirth)."

Whether you are delivering in a hospital, birth center, or at home, you deserve a safe birth. Now (not when labor starts) is the time for you to ask the right questions to ensure the best outcome for you and your baby. You and your doctor are on the same team, so communication should go both ways. Here are eight questions you should ask your doctor before the third trimester.

 


1. What lifestyle and diet changes should I be making?

Your doctor may have specific recommendations for diet, exercise, and other supportive changes that will ensure a happy & healthy pregnancy.


2. What’s my risk for preeclampsia and other complications?
Current research says that being Black is a risk factor for preeclampsia, so Black moms should bring this to their doctor’s attention early on.


3. What does the latest research say regarding an aspirin regimen. Am I a candidate?
Because Black moms are at a higher risk for preeclampsia, they may benefit from an aspirin regimen supervised by their doctor.


4. What should I do if I think I’m having a miscarriage?
While after the first trimester your risk of miscarriage is low, it’s important to know the signs of a miscarriage and what to do.


5. What’s my risk for preterm labor or pregnancy loss?
Depending on your background and medical history, you may be at a higher risk for going into labor early.


6. Can we discuss my birth plan?
Black mothers especially should consider how they want to give birth—Will you use an epidural? Who will be in the room? Consider who you might bring with you to be your advocate.


7. How are doctors at this practice overcoming implicit bias to ensure success?
Some practices have implicit bias training in place. Ask if your doctor has been through this training and what they learned.


8. How can we work together to overcome the current Black maternal mortality statistics?
Every doctor or midwife that could be on call during your delivery should be aware of the reality Black mothers face. If they can’t answer this question confidently, it might be time to switch doctors.

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No matter what, you're doctor should be teachable and open to both questions and critique. By being an active part of your decision-making, you'll ensure that your needs are met and this will contribute to a happy & healthy delivery!

 

 


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