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.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.