5 things your OB wants you to know

Just like we’ve given you a glimpse into the mind of your pediatrician, here are a few tips your OB/GYN might want you to know:

  1. I can’t tell you when you’ll have your baby. While I may be able to provide a really good guess, short of you having a scheduled C-section I can never be completely sure when you will deliver! This applies to when we see you in the office as well as when you are actually in labor. There is no magic formula for how fast a woman dilates (though we have general ideas). We can provide estimates based on your progress, but please don’t be mad at us when we say “I don’t know”…because we don’t!
  2. Speaking of having your baby, choose who you bring to the hospital carefully. I am sometimes shocked when I walk in a labor room and find what I think is an entire football team looking at me expectantly. While having good support in labor is crucial, you may not want Aunt Betty’s next door neighbor to be on the list of people who are alerted when you go to the hospital…because then she might show up, whether or not you want her there! Keep in mind such large groups staring at you during your labor may make you feel like things aren’t moving fast enough, or they may bring with them so many opinions you feel like you can’t think for yourself. Lastly, we talk about very personal and potentially embarrassing things when we are caring for you—just be mindful who is around if you don’t want to overshare.
  3. That darned mucus plug. The concept of the mucus plug is the bane of the existence of many an OB/GYN. While being aware of increased vaginal discharge is important (and especially if you are preterm), the “loss” of the mucus plug is something to note but does not mean you will deliver today, tomorrow, or next week. It may indicate your cervix is shortening, softening, or dilating, but that’s about it. Again, see #1!
  4. Please take care of yourself in pregnancy, but know we won’t judge you. In our ideal world, every pregnant patient would make excellent food choices, exercise daily, and never touch a cigarette. However, we are realists and know this isn’t possible for everyone. Please don’t lie to us about smoking if we ask or your diet if we’re concerned about a recent jump in weight gain—we need to know so we can help you best. We aren’t perfect either, and knowing what challenges you face can help us point you in the right direction.
  5. We don’t live for C-sections. It seems that some documentaries and websites paint us as doctors who all want to do C-sections so we can get home for dinner, while midwives will guarantee you a vaginal birth. None of this is true! While you may find some obstetricians have higher C-section rates than others, there may be a reason for this (such as a higher risk population, for example). When looking around for a provider, inquire about this as well as general practice patterns. In the end you should know we have spent years training to help women have healthy babies , and we know that vaginal births are almost easier for everyone around! Don’t worry, we own microwaves if dinner is missed…

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About Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, Medical Director, Pregnancy

Dr. Jennifer Lincoln is a generalist obstetrician/gynecologist and attending physician at a tertiary-care hospital in northeastern Pennsylvania. She spends the majority of her time on labor and delivery, but manages to fit in some outpatient clinic and operating time.


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