By now, you probably know that not all doctors are created equal. Some provide you with lots of detail about your health, some don’t; some greet you warmly and make you feel comfortable, some don’t; some invite you to be an active participant in your health care, some don’t. But beyond attitudes and bedside manners, care providers also vary widely in how they practice medicine, including birth.
So, what can you do to be sure that your care provider is the best care provider for you? Ask questions. Lots of questions. The following questions are meant to serve as conversation starters during prenatal appointments or as part of your care provider interview in early or pre-pregnancy. Choose questions that best fit your needs and preferences. Check your care provider’s answers against evidence-based standards for maternity care, most of which you can find at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Childbirth Connection. Take note of how you feel about your care provider’s answers — do they align with your idea of a healthy birth? Also, observe how your care provider responds to your questions. Is she receptive to answering your questions? Does he give you detailed answers? And finally, never underestimate the power of your gut instinct — if you feel like your care provider isn’t the best choice for you, find someone else who is.
- How often do women get induced in your practice? For what reasons do they get induced?
- If I haven’t gone into labor by 40 weeks and baby and I are still healthy, what will you recommend?
- What reasons would you recommend a c-section?
- Do you support VBAC?
- How do you feel about me having a doula at my birth?
- How will you make sure your I am actively involved in my care?
- Do you routinely perform episiotomy?
- Do you restrict eating and drinking during birth? Why?
- Do you encourage women to give birth in other positions besides on their back?
- How do you feel about natural/unmedicated birth? How often do you work with women who choose it?
- Do you put a time limit on labor or can I continue to labor as long as baby and I are healthy?
For another great care provider interview resource, check out this article at Giving Birth with Confidence by Lamaze.
I would love to hear from you — what kinds of questions would you (or did you) ask your care provider?