By Sue Sveum
Every pregnancy is a little different — even for the same woman. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to share how you’re feeling and address any questions you may have during this momentous time. Dr. Marisa Sturza, an OBGYN at SSM Health, says she wants all her patients to feel comfortable asking questions — any time.
She believes the best experience comes from working hand-in-hand with your provider. Common pregnancy issues include diet, exercise and mental health concerns, but Sturza treats every patient and pregnancy as unique. “I get to know each of my moms so I can help her get what she needs — and give advice that’s most helpful to her,” explains Sturza.
Most women have some expectations for their pregnancy and childbirth, but Sturza says that keeping an open mind is important. “I think my patient, Laura, said it best when she talked about the importance of flexibility,” she says.
That’s an understatement. Expecting to sail right through her second pregnancy, like her first, Laura learned firsthand how important flexibility and open communication can be.
“This time I had one issue after another — from severe morning sickness to gestational diabetes, and even an uncommon — and extremely itchy — rash,” she says.
“Luckily, talking to Dr. Sturza really felt like a safe place to express my emotions.” And fortunately, all of those conditions could be managed. Laura says the two things she’d tell her pregnant friends is that it’s your body, and if something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor.
Sturza agrees. “I want my patients to feel comfortable being honest and sharing how they’re really doing,” stresses Sturza. “I see pregnancy and labor as shared decision-making between me and my patients.” That communication was important to Laura. “I feel strongly about going into the whole process with an open mind,” she says, adding that she had a general idea of a birth and pregnancy plan, but soon realized that some things are out of the patient’s control. “Don’t let that take away from your experience,” she stresses. Once she was in labor, Laura credits the doctors, nurses and other staff at SSM Health St. Mary’s – Madison for making her hospital experience a smooth one.
“I like to highlight my patients’ strengths — and all of the joyful parts of pregnancy,” says Sturza.
“And just take time,” Laura adds, “to realize how amazing this whole process is.”