In recent years, I have been seeing a lot of women blindly choose prenatal care providers after a simple recommendation from a hospital, insurance company or their girlfriend, rather that sitting down and researching providers and interviewing several different providers til they find someone like minded and on the same page for their birth wishes.
But what kind of questions should women be asking the Doctors and Midwifes they will possibly be sitting down with?
Determining the kind of birth you want is key. If you want an out-of-hospital birth, you are not going to sit down and interview a plethora of OB/GYNs who only deliver in hospitals. If you want an epidural, you are not going to interview Midwives that only deliver in a Free Standing Birth Center. Get where I am going with this?
Find what is most important to you first, and then sit down and write your own questions.
When I was pregnant with my second son, I was looking for a midwife that would attend a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) in a hospital setting. I wrote up a long list of questions, and went on my way interviewing several different midwives that fit this criteria. The offices I called that didn’t offer interviews or sit downs with the provider before signing up for prenatal care I crossed off the list from the get go. If they didn’t have time to talk to me one-on-one before choosing them … they probably wouldn’t have much time for me and my wishes when I was in labor.
Some of the questions I personally used included:
- How do you handle post date pregnancies (past 40 weeks gestation)?
- What percent of your patients have c-sections?
- Where do you deliver?
- What kind of protocols do you have for labor, including IV requirements and fetal monitoring options?
- How does your practice feel about epidural use?
- What percentage of your patients have some form of pitocin or augmented labor?
- What positions can I birth in?
- What kind of prenatal testing do you order for routine patients?
- Do you perform episiotomies?
These are just some that I used myself because they were important to me in a provider and for my birth experience. But there are some other questions out there that you may or may not want to use when interviewing a possible prenatal care provider. Also, on a side note, providers should know their statistics, so if you ask, and they tell you they don’t know or don’t keep track of it, that should be a warning sign.
- How many providers are in your practice?
- What is the likelihood I will have you deliver my baby when I go into labor?
- What is the standard protocol when I go into labor?
- What are your after-hour, on-call policies?
- When should I call you?
- How many babies do you deliver yearly?
- How many babies does your practice deliver yearly?
- Do you have any vacations scheduled around my due date?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What made you want to deliver babies?
- What are your personal views on pregnancy and childbirth?
- What percent of your patients are high-risk?
- How do you handle low-risk pregnancies?
All awesome questions to ask, and of course any of your own questions you can come up with could be really helpful. Everyone has their own specific medical needs and wants for their birth experience, so taking those into account could always create your own questions!
photo: flickr.com/Waldo Jaquith