Blog post

Knowing your normal: Advocating for yourself during pregnancy

https://www.delfina.com/resource/knowing-your-normal-advocating-for-yourself-during-pregnancy
Blog post

Knowing your normal: Advocating for yourself during pregnancy

https://www.delfina.com/resource/knowing-your-normal-advocating-for-yourself-during-pregnancy
Blog post

Knowing your normal: Advocating for yourself during pregnancy

Authors
Authors
Authors
Jessica Barra
https://www.delfina.com/resource/knowing-your-normal-advocating-for-yourself-during-pregnancy

In April, one of our Delfina moms came into the hospital with contractions and a high heart rate. Immediately, the hospitalist was wary. The mom’s heart rate was in the 120s—outside of the normal range. They sprang into action, running an EKG, an echo, and other tests to figure out what was wrong. By the time they were done, the mom’s heart rate was even higher. But the baby was okay—what was going on? 

“Dad got the bright idea, ‘Hey, we’ve been tracking her pulse on the Delfina app,’” recounted Dr. Cynthia Rios, the mom’s OBGYN. “When they saw it at home, she was running 118-120.” 

“So they noticed, ok, this is your normal.” 

The mom’s cardiac workup came back negative, and she was able to go home. “They were both grateful that they were able to continue the pregnancy,” Dr. Rios said. 

Even though a heart rate in the 120s is higher than “normal,” this mom's normal was different. And because this family had been keeping track of that data, they could inform their providers and get mom the right care at the right time. 

The body goes through a lot during pregnancy, and keeping up with the changes can be hard. But without knowing what’s normal for you, you won’t be able to know what’s abnormal. By understanding what’s going on with your body, you can advocate for yourself better in a hospital setting. 

Being able to advocate for yourself confidently is important. When you feel like you don’t have control over your birth experience, it can be traumatic. In a 2017 survey of over 2,000 moms who experienced a traumatic birth, a lack or loss of control and issues of communication were the two most common reasons that women cited as the cause for their trauma. The moms believe this experience could have been prevented with better communication between them and their doctors and if they had asked for or refused certain interventions. 

During birth, you want to feel like you’re in control and that your doctors will listen to you. If something isn’t going the way you want it to or if you think a provider is misunderstanding your experience, it’s important to speak up. And if you’re tracking your own data, you can bring the receipts. 

So how can you know your own normal? Here are some things you can do to understand your body during pregnancy. 

  1. Track your data—This mom was using the Delfina app and tracking her heart rate multiple times a week. A big part of establishing what’s normal is finding a consistent pattern; the only way to do that is by frequently checking and noting your symptoms. If you only look at symptoms like heart rate or blood pressure every few weeks for your prenatal appointments, you won’t know whether one high reading is a fluke or part of your normal.
  2. Take notes at your doctor’s appointments—When you go in for your prenatal appointments, make sure to take notes about how your OBGYN thinks you’re progressing. Maybe your baby is a little smaller than normal, or your blood pressure looks a bit high. It’s important to have data from throughout the pregnancy to discover trends and determine what’s standard for you. 
  3. Share any important information with a partner, family member, or friend - In this Delfina mom’s experience, it was actually the Delfina dad who realized that her previous heart rate data could help them explain what was going on. If there’s someone coming with you to hospital appointments, keep them up to date with your symptoms and what you’re experiencing so that when you’re focused on something else—like having a baby—they can remember for you. We’re rolling out a new feature that allows friends and family members to sign up to Delfina and follow along with your pregnancy so that there’s always someone else in the loop. 
  4. Work with a doula - You’re not expected to be an expert on pregnancy and sometimes you need a different kind of support than your OBGYN can provide. Doulas are trained professionals who provide physical and emotional support during pregnancy. They can help you understand what’s normal and what’s not. Doulas also can be there with you in the delivery room, and can help you advocate for yourself. 
  5. If things start looking weird, go to your OBGYN - Knowing your normal will help you understand what’s not normal. If something starts to look off, or if you get a notification from your Delfina app that your symptoms are out of range, talk to your OBGYN. Also, just because you’re seeing a symptom over and over again doesn’t mean it’s safe to brush that off as part of your normal. For example, if your blood pressure is repeatedly trending too high, it’s important to call your OBGYN immediately to make sure you don’t have a risky hypertensive disorder like preeclampsia. Remember: when in doubt, call your doctor. 

We’re empowering our Delfina members to know their normal. By tracking your data with the Delfina app, you can come into every appointment with a better understanding of your symptoms and body and feel more in control of your pregnancy journey. 

To learn more about becoming a Delfina member, reach out to us here.

Knowing your normal: Advocating for yourself during pregnancy

Jessica Barra
FNP-C
VP of Product
at Delfina
4
Apr
2024
·
4
min read

In April, one of our Delfina moms came into the hospital with contractions and a high heart rate. Immediately, the hospitalist was wary. The mom’s heart rate was in the 120s—outside of the normal range. They sprang into action, running an EKG, an echo, and other tests to figure out what was wrong. By the time they were done, the mom’s heart rate was even higher. But the baby was okay—what was going on? 

“Dad got the bright idea, ‘Hey, we’ve been tracking her pulse on the Delfina app,’” recounted Dr. Cynthia Rios, the mom’s OBGYN. “When they saw it at home, she was running 118-120.” 

“So they noticed, ok, this is your normal.” 

The mom’s cardiac workup came back negative, and she was able to go home. “They were both grateful that they were able to continue the pregnancy,” Dr. Rios said. 

Even though a heart rate in the 120s is higher than “normal,” this mom's normal was different. And because this family had been keeping track of that data, they could inform their providers and get mom the right care at the right time. 

The body goes through a lot during pregnancy, and keeping up with the changes can be hard. But without knowing what’s normal for you, you won’t be able to know what’s abnormal. By understanding what’s going on with your body, you can advocate for yourself better in a hospital setting. 

Being able to advocate for yourself confidently is important. When you feel like you don’t have control over your birth experience, it can be traumatic. In a 2017 survey of over 2,000 moms who experienced a traumatic birth, a lack or loss of control and issues of communication were the two most common reasons that women cited as the cause for their trauma. The moms believe this experience could have been prevented with better communication between them and their doctors and if they had asked for or refused certain interventions. 

During birth, you want to feel like you’re in control and that your doctors will listen to you. If something isn’t going the way you want it to or if you think a provider is misunderstanding your experience, it’s important to speak up. And if you’re tracking your own data, you can bring the receipts. 

So how can you know your own normal? Here are some things you can do to understand your body during pregnancy. 

  1. Track your data—This mom was using the Delfina app and tracking her heart rate multiple times a week. A big part of establishing what’s normal is finding a consistent pattern; the only way to do that is by frequently checking and noting your symptoms. If you only look at symptoms like heart rate or blood pressure every few weeks for your prenatal appointments, you won’t know whether one high reading is a fluke or part of your normal.
  2. Take notes at your doctor’s appointments—When you go in for your prenatal appointments, make sure to take notes about how your OBGYN thinks you’re progressing. Maybe your baby is a little smaller than normal, or your blood pressure looks a bit high. It’s important to have data from throughout the pregnancy to discover trends and determine what’s standard for you. 
  3. Share any important information with a partner, family member, or friend - In this Delfina mom’s experience, it was actually the Delfina dad who realized that her previous heart rate data could help them explain what was going on. If there’s someone coming with you to hospital appointments, keep them up to date with your symptoms and what you’re experiencing so that when you’re focused on something else—like having a baby—they can remember for you. We’re rolling out a new feature that allows friends and family members to sign up to Delfina and follow along with your pregnancy so that there’s always someone else in the loop. 
  4. Work with a doula - You’re not expected to be an expert on pregnancy and sometimes you need a different kind of support than your OBGYN can provide. Doulas are trained professionals who provide physical and emotional support during pregnancy. They can help you understand what’s normal and what’s not. Doulas also can be there with you in the delivery room, and can help you advocate for yourself. 
  5. If things start looking weird, go to your OBGYN - Knowing your normal will help you understand what’s not normal. If something starts to look off, or if you get a notification from your Delfina app that your symptoms are out of range, talk to your OBGYN. Also, just because you’re seeing a symptom over and over again doesn’t mean it’s safe to brush that off as part of your normal. For example, if your blood pressure is repeatedly trending too high, it’s important to call your OBGYN immediately to make sure you don’t have a risky hypertensive disorder like preeclampsia. Remember: when in doubt, call your doctor. 

We’re empowering our Delfina members to know their normal. By tracking your data with the Delfina app, you can come into every appointment with a better understanding of your symptoms and body and feel more in control of your pregnancy journey. 

To learn more about becoming a Delfina member, reach out to us here.

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