HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT PROVIDER FOR YOUR PREGNANCY?

Congratulations!  You’re pregnant.  There are so many things to plan and look forward to.  Besides the name of baby, the room colors, etc., the one thing that may be tough to decide on is who should be your care provider.  Depending on where you live, your options may include, a family doctor, an OB/GYN, or a midwife.  How do you choose?  What are some things you can ask your potential candidates?   I hope by the end of the article you’ll know what to ask and start thinking about what is important to you for your birth experience.

  • Where were you trained? What school did you attend for your training?
  • How long ago were you trained?
  • Please tell me a little bit about your practice?
  • How many births have you attended?
  • What are the kinds of births you have attended?
  • How many of those births were you there from start to finish?
  • Will you be available for my birth and is there any chance that someone else will attend?
  • If someone else will be attending my birth, who are they and can I meet with them?
  • When is it decided that a Cesarean is necessary?
  • What are your conditions that a Cesarean will be necessary?
  • Will you allow a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean)?
  • Can I work with a doula?
  • Can I move around in labor?
  • If you’re speaking with an MD ask if they work with a nurse-midwife?

Questions specific to a midwife

  •  Is there a backup midwife and if so, can I meet them?
  • What are the conditions that would require a physician’s referral of my care?
  • Will you allow an HBAC (Home Birth after Cesarean)?

You want to know the stats of the provider you are choosing.  This can tell you what kind of care you will likely receive.  If it is an OB/GYN or family doctor, they are most likely associated with a hospital and those statistics are a matter of public record.  Here in NYS, you can go to http://profiles.health.ny.gov/

Things you will be looking for is what are the percentage of Cesarean sections, what are the percentage of vaginal birth Cesarean, What is the percentage of drug use in labor, the percentage of Epidurals, the percentage of vaginal births, and more.  It is nice to be able to compare and contrast the hospitals you are looking at in comparison to each other and the national average.

Though it’s a big decision to decide on a care provider for you and your baby, just know that if you feel you are not getting the care you need with the provider you have chosen, no matter how far into the pregnancy you are, you can switch your care to another provider.  Whoever your final candidates may be, ask family and friends for their recommendations or if they have had experiences with those particular care providers.  The first thing we do in making a choice a  household service or before hiring a mechanic, is ask friends who they recommend.  How much more so care should be given in choosing a provider to attend on us as we bring our child into this?  I wish you the best in choosing your provider as you build your birth team.  Happy birthing!

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