The following is a student blog post by a Lacey Morgan
How do you find the right care provider for you?
Your care provider may turn out to be the single most important factor in your childbirth experience. More than your age, weight, occupation, the baby’s gestation, size, or position. That is why it is important to find someone in whom you can place your trust and with whom you feel safe.
First, some prep work:
The first step is to take some time to think about what you want.
- What does your ideal birth experience look like? When considering this question think about everything from the beginning of labor until 3-7 days after the baby is born.
- To what are you adamantly opposed? Why?
- Do the kinds of experiences your care provider has had matter to you?
- Does consistency matter? Most practices share patients amongst their doctors. How many partners are you comfortable with? What if you did not previously meet the attending care provider during your prenatal visits? What if your labor occurs over a shift change?
- What makes you feel safe?
- What are you afraid of?
- Are you comfortable with common interventions?
- IV fluids
- restricted food or drink
- fetal monitoring
- artificial rupture of membranes
- Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin)- before, during, and/ or after labor
- pushing in bed
- directed pushing
- cord clamping
- cesarean sections
- eye drops
- Vitamin K
- washing baby
Finding a care provider:
Once you know what you want, it’s time to find a provider. If you wish to find a provider who is right for you, you need to interview providers.
No really. INTERVIEW providers! They work for you and should be a good fit. You should like them, feel that your personalities are compatible, and you should trust them.
Be sure to let the care provider talk and encourage thorough answers to your questions. You want to listen carefully to their answers to see if you and the provider share your beliefs about birth.
What should you ask?
- If a provider says they support something that is important to you, ask them to explain what that support looks like.
- Ask for their statistics.
- Ask about their use of routine or standard practices as they fit into your ideal plan and how they would be used in a less than ideal scenario.
- Ask how long they have been practicing. How many babies have they delivered?
- Find out how many care providers are in the practice.
- How does this impact: who will attend the birth? shift changes? vacations?
- Find out the standard tests they recommend. How will they respond if you elect to decline them?
- Find out what determines a complication in their mind. How will you be involved in the decision-making process if there is a need to change course?
- Determine how they feel about labor support people (partners, doulas, family, friends).
- Determine how long are they comfortable monitoring a pregnancy (39 weeks, 40, 41, 42).
- Determine what would be cause for an induction.
Be sure any questions you ask address your perfect vision of birth and your worst-case scenario. Although we always like to imagine our births ending with the best possible outcomes, we should know how our care provider will respond if things go awry.
- Ask for references if you are so inclined.
- If you ask online for feedback from previous clients understand that those individuals may not have meshed with the care provider from the get-go. Their philosophies of birth may not be the same as yours. This WILL sway their opinions and may misguide you.
What if my plan is to birth outside of the hospital setting?
Many of the questions above should apply, but there are a few very important questions you should add:
- What are their qualifications, licensing, certifications?
- How many assistants will be present and what are their qualifications?
- What are their transport rates?
- What are their training/skills in newborn resuscitation? Have they used them?
- Under what conditions are clients transported?
- What are the relationships like with the transport locations they recommend and those closest to your birthing location?
- What postpartum care is provided?
This can feel like a heavy weight to bare. Always keep in mind your partner and doula can help you share the weight as you choose your care provider.
Do you have more questions or wish to discuss this topic further? Contact Abetterbirth.net
Lacey Morgan is a birth doula servicing Montgomery, Chester, Delaware and portions of Berks, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties in PA. A biological mother to three young girls and a step-mother to a young woman, Lacey brings a passion for pregnancy, birth and parenting to every day. Her desire is to help other mothers find their strength, their voice and their confidence so they can pursue the pregnancy, labor and delivery of their dreams.