Choosing the Best Provider for Your Birth
Choosing a provider for your pregnancy and birth is one of your biggest and most important decisions. The task can seem daunting and overwhelming, but we urge you to not settle for just "okay". Whether you want low intervention birth or an epidural as soon as you get to the hospital, find a provider that aligns with your preferences. Most importantly, listen to your gut! Getting recommendations from friends, family, doulas, or even other providers can be a good place to start, but if you feel or hear any red flags at any point, DON'T ignore them! It's never to late to switch, even at 42 weeks!
Here are some great questions to ask your care provider...
What is the care provider’s birth philosophy? What is their philosophy of pregnancy?
What type of births make up majority of their experience in practice?
What are the provider's credentials and experience?
Have there ever been any official complaints made about this provider to their board of licensure?
How many partners are in the practice? Would I be able to meet and get to know all of the providers who might attend my birth?
What percentage of clients’ births do they attend?
Would I be able to meet and get to know all of the providers who might attend my birth?
Do they know of anything now that may cause them to be unavailable around the time of my birth, including travel plans?
If this is an individual practice: What back-up arrangements do they have if they are not available to attend my birth?
Why did they decide to become a doctor/midwife?
How many babies do they deliver per week/month/year?
What schedule of prenatal visits do they recommend, and what happens during those visits?
How do they define "high-risk"? When would I fall into this category?
How are “high-risk” clients managed differently from low-risk?
Have they had any bad outcomes with a client/baby? Any losses? What happened? How has this changed their outlook on pregnancy or birth and has it changed their practice or policy?
What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
Are there any extra costs associated with screening tests, or are they included in the fee/covered by insurance?
For glucose screening, do they accept alternatives to the “Glucola” drink? (Eg. daily glucose monitoring, eating jelly beans, or eating a normal meal.)
What are their protocols and treatment options for Rh negative clients?
What are their protocols and treatment options for Group B Strep?
Are they willing to use alternative protocols for Group B Strep?
How do they feel about birth plans?
How is the "due date" approached? When is “full term”? When is “overdue”?
What is the standard practice for clients who go “past due?”
What is the induction policy?
When do they typically recommend inductions (including post date, “big baby”, low fluid, high blood pressure, etc.)?
What does a typical induction look like for their clients/patients?
How much time will be spent with me during each appointment?
Will questions be answered over the phone?
What is the after-hours procedure?
Are their services covered by your insurance? Note: you should check with your insurer to confirm coverage.
Do they accept alternate payment arrangements, such as sliding scale or time payments?
What if I hire a doula? Are there restrictions on the doula I may hire? If yes, why?
Are there restrictions on the type of childbirth or breastfeeding class I take? If so, what and why?
Do they offer classes in childbirth education? Newborn care? Breastfeeding? Postpartum adjustment? Who teaches these classes?
What are their credentials/experience and philosophy?
How much time do they spend on continuing education? What are some of the most recent continuing education workshops, training's, or conferences they have participated in?
What is their personal involvement in improving maternity care on the local, state, or national level?
What is their experience with herbs, homeopathy and alternative medicine (including chiropractic care and acupuncture)? Do they have concerns regarding these?
All in all, providers, like everyone else, view things through their own rose colored glasses, so find a provider that looks at things similar to you.
Sadly, sometimes a provider seems on board until closer to the end, and then starts saying things opposite to what you were promised. That is called "bait and switch". If that happens, it's not too late to change providers. It can feel overwhelming to do so late in the game, but it is worth doing so to have a positive birth experience that effects your body, mind, and future.
Here is a real example of "bait and switch"
The doulas of KC Doula Connective would love to answer any questions and guide you to the right provider for you!