During labor, you will more than likely come to a moment when a nurse or doctor suggests some intervention or procedure. Sometimes people agree simply because they do not know what else to do, but it is a good idea to ask a few questions first.
But as you will likely be in the throws of labor, talk with your husband or partner beforehand and make sure he knows he will be responsible for communicating with the medical staff. When something is suggested, probably the first question he should ask is, "Is this an emergency?" If the answer to that is no, he should follow up with, "We'd like to talk about it first."
Penny Simkin made these handy little cards with questions to ask your care provider when a treatment or intervention is suggested:
- "What is the problem? Why is it a problem? How serious is it? How urgent is it that we begin treatment?
- Describe the treatment: How is it done? How likely is it to detect or solve the problem?
- If it does not succeed, what are the next steps?
- Are there risks or side effects to the treatment?
- Are there any alternatives (including waiting and doing nothing)?
- Ask questions two, three, and four about any alternatives."
(There were more questions regarding testing on these cards. If you would like to order some, contact ICEA, 1500 Sunday Drive, Suit 102 Raleigh, N.C. 27607)