Going on rounds while pregnant can be a feat! But here are some tips (that have helped me a lot) for all would-be mommas taking care of not only baby but of (lots of) patients, too!
1. Comfortable shoes
Reliable shoes are a must even when not pregnant! Go for comfortable, flexible (you’re feet can get big with fluid) shoes. Don’t buy compression stockings early in the pregnancy, as some mommas have swollen feet and some don’t. But comfy shoes will not only accommodate the swelling but will also accommodate the weight of baby (and mommy!). Plus, think of how cranky you will be if your feet hurt!
2. Bring snacks
Lifesaver! Bring nutritious, yummy snacks such as granola bars that are packed with nutrients and energy for all that patient charting! Chomp away while walking, charting, or thinking of the ddx! No one will judge you for snacking.;) Mama MD tip: choose snacks you can eat without touching (not the ones you have to pick out of the bag) so that you can avoid touching food with dirty hands! But even so, please always observe hand hygiene!:)
3. Sit down!
No need to chart all patients standing up! Sit down to recover energy and lessen back pain and edema. Politely ask the patient and relative if you may sit during interviews. If Dr. Consultant prefers to stand, just inform him/her that you will sit, and offer a chair for him/her as well.
4. Ask for help
Don’t wait for people to volunteer: ask for help when needed. From handing you charts to seeing an infectious patient for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help from colleagues. Most (if not all) doctors will gladly help. But for those who will take it against you, don’t fret! You have fought for patients’ well-beings before, why shouldn’t you fight for your baby’s health and safety now?:) Being a health advocate includes taking care of you and your baby’s health.:)
5. Be pregnant!
Flaunt it, be proud of it! There was a time when it was unthinkable to be a woman in medicine. Now we are showing the world that women doctors can do everything better even while creating little humans!
6. Take a leave 🙂
If you think it will be best for you and baby, take a leave. Training and practice will always be there for you to come back to. Motherhood takes priority. Remember, you’re always a momma first!
7. Do not panic (too much)!
Just diagnosed your patient with varicella in the clinic? It’s ok to worry! But don’t let it get to you too much. Go back to the facts. How is it transmitted? Will it harm you or your baby? What is the recommended prophylaxis? When in doubt, go to the HICU or any ID Specialist or your OB. They are here to help.:) Lesson learned: be more careful next time! (p.s. This is the hardest tip for me to follow, I’m so paranoid!)
8. Think of baby!
Always always think of baby first.:)
Consultant is already at the 7th flr but you are on the 2nd! Don’t you even think of running up 5 flights of stairs! Let the consultant wait. Take the elevator. It is your best friend.
10. Take it easy! Or should you?
We are all competitive. We want to be the best mother AND the best doctor. I am here to tell you that you can be both! Don’t let people tell you otherwise, mommy! We’ll just have to take things slow (literally, because you will walk slower) but patient care will not be compromised. Sometimes it’s nice to wonder if baby is also enjoying learning from patients (future doctor, maybe?:))
11. Converse with seniors/bosses
For any advice, help, or concern, don’t be afraid to talk to the bosses. Some of them may even be mothers too, and will know what you are going through! You’ll be surprised at how understanding and supportive they are.
12. Talk to other Mama MDs!
Mommies are always here for each other! From giving you tips on all pregnancy problems to donating their breastmilk during those first days when you are having trouble breastfeeding (Thank you so much!), the Mama MD community is a loving and supportive community you will be proud to be a part of.