How to choose & interview a care provider

When you find out you are pregnant, you’re often flooded with a list of ideas of things you need to prepare for. You want to start thinking about decorating the babies nursery. You want to get pregnancy books and read about the journey ahead of you. You want to look into childbirth classes to learn about how to have a great birth. But so often, expecting mothers neglect to look into the one person that can hold the key to that great birth she is hoping for: her care provider. So often, expectant mothers are already so familiar with their existing OB or Midwife that they assume that their good bedside manner for annual exams, pap smears, and birth control chats will easily transfer over to a good fit for labor and delivery. Unfortunately, if you have not labored previously with him or her, how can you really know how they will react to your birth plan? Will they be onboard with your vision? Are their office policies in line with your expectations of your birth.  The pregnant mother – care provider relationship is one that we women often look at from a reverse perspective, especially as a first time mother. There is so much that we don’t know the first time we are expecting that we often assume that since the doctor knows so much more about pregnancy, labor and delivery than we do, that they have the right answer, but this may or may not be true.

It’s important to remember that we are the one’s hiring the doctor, and they provide a service for us. If we were hiring an architect to design our home, would we assume that the architect friend we know who is very kind to us will be a good fit to work with and to design something that is in line with our desires? Most likely not. We would interview him, along with several other designers in order to make sure we’ve selected the right person. We’d also look at his portfolio, and ask for recommendations. It is our responsibility as patients to do the same when it comes to the care provider we select to support us through pregnancy and at our child’s birth. OK, so an OBGYN or Midwife doesn’t have a portfolio that we can glance through, but there are ways to find out if they would be a good fit. First, ask other mothers in your community for recommendations of doctors who will support the type of birth you are hoping to have. If you are hoping to have a vaginal unmedicated birth, VBAC, waterbirth, etc, ask specifically for people who have successfully achieved this and find out who was their care provider. Mention your care provider and get feedback. Local mom’s groups and natural birth/parenting networks online or on social media are a great place to get open feedback like this. If you get negative feedback for your care provider, move on. Once you’ve decided on a provider who has good recommendations, make an appointment to have a consultation with them, and come prepared with questions. Here is a good comprehensive list you can start with:

  1. What prenatal tests do you require or recommend?
  2. What is your view on labor and delivery?
  3. Can I move around during labor?
  4. What positions can I labor in? Push in?
  5. Can I eat or drink during labor?
  6. How will the baby be monitored?
  7. How often will the baby be monitored?
  8. Can I labor in the water? Deliver in the water?
  9. Do I have to have an IV?
  10. What is your Cesarean Rate?
  11. What is your induction rate? At what gestational age do you typically induce, and for what reasons?
  12. What are your views on episiotomy?
  13. Do you allow delayed cord clamping and cutting?
  14. How long can i be skin to skin with my baby before he/she must be taken away for procedures? (ideally 1-2 hrs)
  15. How many deliveries are you performing in a month?
  16. What happens if two mothers are in delivering at the same time?
  17. have you ever missed a birth?
  18. Will you do a vaginal breech delivery or vaginal twin delivery?
  19. What do you do if a mother goes beyond her due date? beyond 41 wks? 42 wks?
  20. How many patients of yours hire a doula?  How do you feel about working with doulas?
  21. What do you consider a high risk pregnancy

This list should give you a good idea of the doctor’s practices, and let you know if your birth plan will be respected. That way, you will go into your baby’s birth knowing that your care provider is supportive of your choices, and will give you every possible opportunity to have the birth you envisioned.

Is there anything you think I might have missed? leave me a reply below!


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