A perfect pregnancy is an admirable goal but not always realistic, despite the efforts of all concerned. As pregnancy becomes obtainable in high risk patients, the desired goal will no longer be a perfect pregnancy but the best possible outcome. For example, if a patient is obese, her physician or midwife is obligated to discuss the risks associated with pregnancy and obesity so that the mother is prepared to do the necessary preparation in order to have the best possible outcome associated with her pregnancy. The preparation will involve effective communication and trust by both patient and physician. How does one achieve effective communication with their physician? By letting them know what you do and don’t understand regarding your pregnancy. Here are 10 things that your physician or midwife should do:
- Periodically stop and ask whether you have questions before the end of the appointment
- Give you lab results in plain English without additional medical jargon
- Discuss any potential psychosocial skills with the patient and other healthcare staff members such as a nurse or social worker
- Assume the patient does not understand her given instructions and ask her to repeat the instructions that were given to her at the onset of her appointment
How can a level of trust be established?
- Your physician or midwife should Introduce themselves at the first visit
- Make proper eye contact
- Ask about your belief system and discuss possible conflicts of interest if any
- Explain all options and alternative treatments that adhere to the standard of care
- Explain the importance of informed consent and the right to refuse consent for a particular treatment including the consequences of that refusal
- Write in a legible manner so that both the patient and nursing staff are able to decipher treatment notes in the patient’s chart
It is extremely important to keep your OB provider abreast of any new complaints or developments as they arise in your pregnancy. Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.