3 questions before going to the hospital for birth or surgery

1. After BIRTH or SURGERY, will doctors and nurses take my heart rate and blood pressure during and immediately after activity while I’m in the hospital?

Rationale: This is to protect you from problems with your heart, brain, or lungs while your body is trying to recover. If you don’t have someone monitoring your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing in the hospital after birth or major surgery, then how will you know what is too much at home?
For example, Preeclampsia is a significant concern through the first 6 weeks after birth. If you have stairs at home, practice going up and down steps while you are in the hospital with someone monitoring your vital signs and response to activity.

2. Steps After Birth or Surgery

After birth or surgery, you will be instructed on:

  1. Protecting My Incision While Getting In And Out Of Bed Without Rails?
  2. Preventing Blood Clots With Different Movements Or Positions?
  3. Monitoring My Response To Standing In The Shower?
  4. Avoiding Shortness Of Breath Or Increased Pain With Going Up And Down Stairs?
  5. Walking And Holding A Laundry Basket Or My Baby?
  6. Driving My Baby To The Pediatrician Or Visiting My Baby In The NICU If I Don’t Have Support?
  7. All Of The Above?

Rationale: After birth or surgery, you have the right to information that teaches you how to properly heal so that you can return to your full capacity. Do not leave the hospital to figure it out on your own. Make a formal request to your care team to assess how well you perform in each of these areas.

The number one way to guarantee a blood clot or stitches splitting apart is to stay for hours on end in a hospital bed at a 45-degree angle while you eat, sleep, or watch TV. This will create a pool of fluid around your pelvis that sits and stays in the same position that you are sitting and staying in. Gravity follows gravity and if you don’t want a tire around your waist by the end of your recovery, consider the ABCs of post-birth and post-surgical recovery:

  1. CHANGE Positions From Lying All The Way Flat To Sitting Upright.
  2. WALK Around Comfortably While Staying Upright With Your Shoulders Back Like A Model On The Runway.
  3. Don’t EXERT Yourself, Placing Too Much Strain On Your Blood Vessels And Organs.

3. After BIRTH Or SURGERY, Will I Have Access To OT And PT Services In The Hospital To Reduce My Pain, Swelling, Or Difficulty Moving?

Rationale: OTs and PTs are on every floor in the hospital to help patients function, reduce unwanted symptoms or side effects from their procedures or trauma, and to ensure they are safe to return home. 

You have the right to their services in the hospital after birth or pelvic surgery just like other patients who elect to have surgery at your facility (e.g. joint replacement and spinal sugery). You can request that they come to your floor to provide services in your hospital room.

Take Home Message: You Are 100% The Most Valuable Person On Your Care Team To Ensure That You Have The BEST Outcome Possible.

Use Your Voice. Ask For Help.

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