In light of our current COVID-19 reality, pregnant women everywhere are more cautious than ever when it comes to protecting their pandemic pregnancies. Learning to steer your own medical care and pregnancy and choosing your outcome—these are really important when it comes to getting great obstetric care.

Patients often don’t realize that they can make some key choices. Most doctors won’t tell them what the choices are, and most patients don’t know they have choices to make. For example, here are some issues pregnant women may wish to discuss with their doctors so they can make important care choices:

  • Birth room support (i.e., partner, doula)
  • VBAC—vaginal birth after a previous cesarean section birth
  • Use of low-dose Cytotec for induction of labor instead of Pitocin
  • Effective procedures for decreasing the risks of preterm labor
  • Reducing the risks of maternal complications during and after pregnancy

And, if you are pregnant right now, during the coronavirus outbreak, here are 5 more questions to ask your doctor:

1. Have you already been exposed? You have the right to know whether or not your doctor has already been exposed to COVID-19 or not, and what the implications are either way. Have they been tested recently? When was the last negative test? Don’t hesitate to gather information to put yourself more at ease.

2. What will happen if I’m positive for COVID-19 when I deliver? Make a plan with your doctor so that you have one less thing to stress about if this occurs. As much as you don’t want your baby whisked away after birth, the plan to protect and test your new baby for the illness will include isolating you from her/him initially after birth.

3. Will my baby be immune if I have/had COVID-19? One Chinese case study found that a mother who had COVID-19 and delivered her baby via C-section passed immunity onto her baby but not the illness. Other studies, however, have shown cases of mothers passing the virus on to their babies.

4. Will you be the one delivering my baby? Often, the O.B. you’re working with may not actually be the one to deliver your baby. Asking this question now gives you an opportunity to understand who will be there during delivery, and who else you need to talk to about their COVID-19 exposure and testing.

5. Will I be allowed to have my support team in the birthing room with me? If you want your partner and/or a doula in the birthing room with you, this is a very important question to ask your doctor. The rules as we navigate the pandemic are constantly changing and under evaluation, so ask now, and ask again as birth gets closer.

Too often, obstetricians make decisions for their patients without consulting them. I want to provide women with the information they need to take part in these decisions and take charge of their health and pregnancies. Steer your pregnancy and create the outcome you want for yourself and your baby—with nearly 40 years of practice, I’ve delivered around 6,000 babies and achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero! Learn more at LindemannMD.com.