I can understand how my story of losing my son may be unbearable to hear about, especially if you are currently pregnant.
Trust me, it is unbearable for me too. While I still have many unanswered questions and unknown causes, I have learned that there could’ve been VITAL questions I should’ve asked my doctors, but had no idea were needed to be addressed. Knowledge is power, advocating is essential in our health system.
Here are things that my (new) doctors while pregnant with Zoë taught me and checked for at every visit.
I am sharing your very own pregnancy checklist because I truly believe that in every tragedy there is an educational side for others to be shared that could make a difference.
Here are questions at every appointment that you should ask your doctor:
- Would you please measure the placenta?
Make sure it’s not too big or too small. The placenta is vital for your baby. Too big or too little maybe be a risk so it’s good to have your doctor check it but also let them know you are aware.
Awareness is advocation is our health system. Advocation is knowledge and it gives boundaries and less chances for doctors to malpractice, therefore they’re a little more alert.
- Would you please check the fluid?
Fluid is very important. Too little and your baby is at risk. If you ever have the feeling of slightly peeing on yourself when you get up, walk, or lay down, have it checked. This could be amniotic fluid leaking. Unless you sneezed or cough which is probably pee 😂 but there is no silliness when it comes to being vigilant.
You can also purchase test strips. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to mistake your pee for amniotic fluid as it is practically undetectable without testing. I’d say, If it happens, pay attention within the next hour or two.
- Would you please check the cord?
Placement and pressure – at every appointment – asking where the location and pressure is a good idea and peace of mind.
- May you please test my urine?
Urine test should be checked at every visit. Checking protein levels is very important. Usually doctors don’t fail on doing this routine test, but some do.
- Would you please check the heartbeat and look a little closer on the ultrasound?
There is no harm in asking questions like this. Movement and kicks count. A lot of confusion comes in here, the main idea is to not drive yourself crazy. Track patterns, get to know your baby, and keep in mind that babies get tried too. Let’s say one day they were pretty active and the next day they can be slower than normal. That’s okay!
Movement should happen within two hours of every meal. Usually at least 10 movements. Unusual movement that is strikingly active or inactive is a red flag. It is okay to go get monitored. No room for baby to move is a myth. There shouldn’t be a noticeable lack of movement.
If you are worried, you could try eating or drinking something cold, eat something sweet, and lay on your left side. Always, ALWAYS, follow your instincts and don’t be shy asking for extra monitoring.
- Would you please listen to my blood flow?
Discuss potential need of baby aspirin. A very low dose of aspirin throughout pregnancy is normal. Ask your doctor to check and listen to your blood flow.
- Request a non stress test.
It is okay to to request a non stress test if desired towards 30 weeks or later.
- Request a blood clot gene test.
Blood clots are unfortunately a cause of stillbirth and usually revealed that a woman has a gene after the loss. To me, this is very backwards. Let’s get ahead of this, ask questions, request a test.
I highly recommend using this checklist throughout your pregnancy.
If you suddenly feel very tired, uncomfortable, swollen, itchy, or anything like this – address it. In some cases, the thought process of “I am just pregnant” is not good enough. You are entitled to ask questions, ask for additional support, and know how to advocate for yourself while pregnant. If something is tugging on you or doesn’t feel right, advocate for extra monitoring, blood and urine tests, as well as the questions on this checklist.
Thank you for reading!
My story of grief and losing my son, Blake Moon, was unfathomable. I do not wish this kind of pain upon any one. I dislike thinking “If I had known better, I could have prevented this…” though what I can do is help new mothers on their own journey. Use this pregnancy checklist throughout your journey. Trust yourself, Momma!
Read all about What I Would Do Differently During Pregnancy on my blog.