Sunday, June 11, 2023

More Information is Better

via Unsplash

Big content warning on today’s post for discussion of various pregnancy complications, some potentially fatal. As always, this comes with a disclaimer that I am not a medical professional, so my understanding of these conditions is only that of a patient doing her best to get educated   

One of the many challenging things about my birth experience and hospitalization was a feeling that my OB-GYN practice really dropped the ball when it came to explaining any of the factors that started making my pregnancy with LB high-risk. When it came to gestational diabetes (“GD”), COVID, gestational hypertension, the labor complications I encountered, postpartum preeclampsia, and what to do or expect when I still needed blood pressure medication after my six-week postpartum appointment, I got basically no explanation about the implications of any of those things from the doctors in their group. 

With regards to the GD diagnosis, my OB did at least refer me to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine (“MFM”) specialist at the major hospital system where I would deliver. The hospital had a structured GD program to ensure I could get all my questions answered promptly while receiving closer monitoring of my blood sugar results. There was no such help for any of the other things. 

Additionally, communication from my OB’s office about who exactly I was supposed to contact to get enrolled with the hospital GD program was almost nonexistent. I got a referral for that first conversation with the MFM, but no other guidance. I only learned weeks after my diagnosis that the OB-GYN actually intended to refer me for continued monitoring throughout the rest of the pregnancy, not just for a one-off conversation with the MFM. I then needed to call (and MyChart message) around at the hospital myself to figure out who I should talk to.