Talking to Your Doctor About Preterm Labor and Delivery
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time so you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Based on my medical history and lifestyle, am I at risk for preterm labor?
- Is there anything about this pregnancy that puts me at risk for preterm labor?
- Am I currently taking any medicine that puts me at risk for preterm labor?
- How do I reduce my risk of preterm labor?
- If I go into preterm labor, how can I reduce the risk of preterm delivery?
- Should I be screened for preterm labor?
- If I have preterm labor in this pregnancy, will I have it in my next pregnancy?
- What does a uterine contraction feel like?
- How can I tell the difference between a contraction and a normal ache or cramp?
- What should I do if I feel preterm contractions?
- How is preterm labor treated?
What medicines are available to me to treat preterm labor?
- What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
- How will these medicines affect my baby?
- Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am taking for other conditions?
Do I need to be on bed rest?
- How limited is my motion while on bed rest?
Am I a candidate for cervical cerclage?
- How effective is this procedure?
- What are the side effects of this procedure?
- What are the risks to my baby if I go into preterm labor?
- What are the risks to my baby if I deliver him or her prematurely?
- How do the risks change with each week of pregnancy?
- Will my baby need to stay in the hospital after birth?
- What type of treatment will my baby receive?
- What will I need to do for my baby once he or she comes home?
- What are the long-term health risks for my baby?
- Should I be screened for any infections?
- Where can I get help for an abusive relationship?
- What is a healthy diet during pregnancy?
- Should I avoid sexual activity?
Assessment of Risk Factors for Preterm Birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin No. 31. October 2001. Available at: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2001/10000/ACOG%5FPractice%5FBulletin%5FNo%5F%5F31%5F%5FAssessment%5Fof%5FRisk.35.aspx.
Pregnancy: questions to ask. Healthy Women website. Available at: http://www.healthywomen.org. Accessed September 26, 2005.
Preterm labor. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org. Accessed June 1, 2009.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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