Many women will at some point in their lives, find themselves staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Positive. Pregnant. This can come with many emotions….excitement, fear, anxiousness, joy. And for many, there are a lot of questions. How do I tell everyone? When do I tell everyone? What do I eat now? Is it safe to exercise? How do I choose a care provider?
I’d like to address that last question. How do you choose a provider to care for you during your pregnancy and upcoming birth?
You start by setting up interviews/meet-and-greets with several providers. You will want to ask lots of questions and take into consideration the type of care you desire and in the end choose the provider you feel is the best fit for you. Remember, that no provider can be perfect for everyone so if your BFF or co-worker loves a certain provider, you may not and that’s OK. Also, remember that you are hiring this provider to provide a service for you, so give this decision a lot of thought and don’t be afraid to switch providers at any point if you feel that the provider you had chosen is not/may not work for you after all.
Here is a list of questions I’ve come up with to help you get started on your search for the right provider.
♥ How long have you been in practice?
♥ What hospital(s) do you have privileges at?
♥ What does a typical prenatal appointment with you look like?
♥ What prenatal tests/procedures do you require and/or recommend?
♥ What books and childbirth classes do you recommend for your patients?
♥ Is your practice a group or solo? What percentage of your patients’ births do you attend? Do all of the partners share the same philosophy/practice style?
♥ Do you have any time off planned around my due date?
♥ Please tell me about the “average” birth you attend. Are you usually at the hospital with patients as they labor?
♥ What percentage of your patients have their labor induced?
♥ What is your most common reason for inducing labor?
♥ What percentage of your patients have their labor augmented with either medication or procedures like breaking the water?
♥ What is your standard practice for women who go past their due date?
♥ What percentage of your patients birth with an intact perineum?
♥ What percentage of your patients give birth by cesarean?
♥ What percentage of your patients receive assistance from vacuum or forceps?
♥ What percentage of your patients receive an epidural during labor?
♥ How do you feel about other labor support people such as friends or family? How do you feel about doulas?
♥ What do you recommend for breech babies?
♥ What positions do most of your patients birth in?
♥ What are your and the hospital’s policies and thoughts about fetal monitoring? IV access? Eating and drinking in labor? Delayed cord clamping? Immediate skin-to-skin? Delayed newborn procedures and assessments?
♥ How do you help mothers that want to breastfeed?
♥ What if my baby is born early or has special problems?
If you have already chosen a provider, but feel that you didn't ask enough questions, ask them now! Take these questions in and have a conversation with your provider at your next appointment. If you don't like the responses, go shopping for a new provider. Trust your instincts and remember, you are paying your maternity care provider to provide you with a service. Only give your money and your business to a provider that will give you the kind of service that you desire. As long as your baby is still on the inside, it is not too late to change providers if you have hesitations or second thoughts about the provider you have chosen.
This decision is the first of many you will make as a parent and it is a hugely important one. Shop around, ask questions, trust your instincts. You know what (and who) is right for your family.
I’m going to stray a bit from my typical post about birth related topics and talk about myself today. As some of you may know from my facebook posts, I broke my ankle three weeks ago. My family and I drove to a campground two hours away and as we were setting up, I stepped out of the camper onto uneven ground and rolled my ankle. This resulted in breaking the very tip of my fibula off at the ankel joint and tearing a tendon. These last three weeks have been very hard for me. Not so much the physical pain, although there was some in those first days after, but emotional and spiritual pain. This week I have been wondering, what would God have me learn through these circumstances? And the answer is: so much!
♥My identity is in Christ, not what I accomplish.
Ouch! I am a task-driven person. And I am guilty in seeking my worth and finding my identity in the things I accomplish. And now that I am forced to spend the majority of my days sitting and lying with this broken ankle, God has been speaking to me on this issue. I am not defined by my accomplishments, or my situation/circumstances. I am created in His image (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 4:24). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I am a child of God (John 1:12, John 3:1-2, Galatians 3:26) He has chosen me, dwells within me and loves me (1 Corinthians 6:19, John 15:9, 1 John 4:9) And no person, thing, situation or circumstance can take that away from me (Romans 8:35-39). I am important. As I see the effect of my weeks of being limited on my feet, I realize how much my family does in fact need me. And through the outpouring of love we received with meals from friends and family, I realize that people care about me and my family.I know all of this in my head, but it’s hard to let it sink into my heart.
♥The Lord will provide.
For much of the last 3 weeks, I couldn’t even tell you for sure what it is that I needed, but I needed *something*. I have been seeking the Lord and He has provided. (Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 11:6). I still having moments of frustration and feeling stir-crazy, but overall, I’m feeling more content and patient. And we have had so many people caring for our family by bringing meals. Seriously, we had an entire 3 weeks worth of dinners and many lunches brought to us….what a blessing!
♥ I need to have patience
All of this sitting around waiting to heal is hard! I am learning patience and I pray that it will help me relate better to my husband, my children and my doula clients. (Romans 12:12, Romans 5:3-4, Colossians 3:12) And I trust that all of this will build character in me and will be used for good once I am through it. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28)
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.