When it comes to pregnancy, it can seem like everyone you meet has an opinion on what’s best, from what you should eat to where you should deliver. With so many voices chiming in, it’s hard to cut through the noise. So we went right to the source of useful, accurate, must-know advice: ob-gyns who guide countless women through pregnancy every day. If they could each offer just one top tip for moms-to-be, what would it be? Here’s what they said.
1. Recognize you’re doing this incredible thing—creating life.
“I know from personal experience that pregnancy is hard, uncomfortable, often painful and a complete sacrifice, but whenever you’re struggling, try to focus on the miracle of what’s going on inside you! You’re creating a human from one microscopic cell to what will become a living, breathing human capable of loving, learning and contributing to this world. Yes, pregnancy is natural and common, but it’s also incredible and often desired so intensely that the measures to obtain it are marvels themselves. I think truly recognizing the miracle of creating life makes eating healthy, avoiding certain foods and drinks, sacrificing hobbies, changing exercise routines and living with pain just a little bit easier. Hopefully recognizing what you’re doing makes what otherwise is a struggle into an absolute honor and gift.” —Candice Wood, MD, ob-gyn at Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix
2. Trust your OB or midwife.
“Pregnancy, especially for first-timers, is unchartered territory. Your trusted source of medical advice and guidance should come from the person you choose to be the captain of your ship: your OB or midwife. If you feel communication lines aren’t open and you don't feel confident or comfortable getting your information from your chosen healthcare provider, you should find a new captain to lead this journey.” —Sheeva Talebian, MD, ob-gyn in New York City and co-founder of Truly-MD.com
3. Participate in your prenatal care.
“Be an equal partner with your healthcare provider. We want women to be informed, to understand their health and ask questions. Things aren’t always straightforward, and the [medical] decisions that are made during pregnancy are impacted by how the woman feels and what she wants. But it’s important to be flexible. In my experience, a lot of women have a clear vision of what they want their pregnancy to be like, but things can go awry.” —Hope Ricciotti, MD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston
4. Embrace this amazing time of change.
“For some women, it can be difficult to accept the changes—to your body, your life, your future, your sense of control—that come with pregnancy, but letting go a little and following the excitement of the journey is well worth it.” —Allison Bryant Mantha, MD, ob-gyn at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston
5. Let go of expectations for your birth experience.
“I think too many women go into the labor process with a set plan, and when things don't go as planned (which happens frequently—nature is unpredictable!), it can be upsetting. It can be hard to accept that what you had envisioned and what is actually happening are two totally different things. We as OBs want to give you everything you want, but we also want to give you a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Sometimes we have to do what you don't want (like an epidural or c-section) to ensure that this happens.” —Jaime Knopman, MD, ob-gyn in New York City and co-founder of Truly-MD.com
6. Avoid Googling your questions.
“I get frequent panicked calls from mothers who have dug themselves into the rabbit hole that is the internet. Although there are sites, like The Bump, with well-vetted information, there are also lots of unscientific sites, blogs and forums where incorrect and potentially dangerous information exists. Pick an OB you trust, and direct your questions to her. She is your and your baby's best advocate.” —Christina Han, MD, ob-gyn at the Center for Fetal Medicine and Women's Ultrasound in Los Angeles
7. Go with the flow.
“We all wish for beautiful, easy, healthy pregnancies. But don't blame yourself when your plans go astray. Being able to adapt and accept that things aren't exactly as you had hoped and imagined (in pregnancy, labor and birth) is a skill you’ll use daily with your newborn baby. Start practicing now.” —Sara Twogood, MD, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles
8. Have no fear, you’ve got this!
“A healthy lifestyle and pregnancy education are what ultimately help women have better pregnancies and minimize the risk for complications. Statistically, most women will have safe, uneventful pregnancies and births, but at times complications can arise. Most of these issues are very rare, but if they do happen, it can be extremely upsetting to the expectant mom and family. This is the part where medicine and science kick in. In obstetrics, we focus on evidence-based medicine and management, and science has made great advancements for pregnancy and delivery care and improved outcomes—so have no fear! You got this, and we’ve got you.” —Marina Maslovaric, MD, ob-gyn at HM Medical in Newport Beach, CA
Published August 2017