Choosing a Care Provider

Choosing a supportive care provider is one of the most important steps to having the kind of birth that you want. Because you desire to have a natural childbirth, it is important to find a care provider who agrees with your birth philosophy. Midwives tend to be very supportive of natural childbirth, as they specialize in low-intervention birth. Midwives tend to view birth as a healthy, normal bodily function, only intervening when necessary. OBs tend to view childbirth as a pathological function in need of improvement. In other words, childbirth is a dangerous process, and we need to intervene before anything scary happens.

Not all OBs view childbirth as something scary or dangerous. There are many OBs in the Houston area that support natural childbirth, and I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing, compassionate, and patient OBs. On the other hand, not all midwives view childbirth as a healthy, normal bodily function.

It is important to know what you believe about birth, and select a care provider that supports what you believe. You will not change your care provider’s mind about birth!

Questions to ask potential care providers:

  1. What is your birth philosophy?
  2. How do you feel about natural childbirth?
  3. What percentage of your patients have a natural childbirth?
  4. How long will you be at my labor?
  5. How will you monitor my baby in labor?
  6. What is your overall Cesarean rate?
  7. What is your Cesarean rate for first time parents?
  8. What is your Cesarean rate for spontaneous labors?
  9. What is your Cesarean rate for induced labors?
  10. How often are your patients induced?
  11. Under which circumstances would you recommend an induction of labor?
  12. Do you have back-up in case you are off-call, and do they share your birth philosophy?
  13. Do you support VBAC?
  14. How do you feel about vaginal breech birth and can you support me in one if it is necessary?
  15. Can you perform ECV if it becomes necessary?
  16. What do you prefer I do if my water breaks before labor begins?
  17. How do you feel about me moving around during labor as I need?
  18. How do you feel about me using the tubs and/or shower during labor?
  19. How do you handle emergencies?
  20. When should I head to the birth facility, or when do you join me in labor?
  21. How do you feel about doulas?
  22. When would you recommend a Cesarean birth?
  23. How long are you comfortable with me being in labor and/or pushing?
  24. How do you feel about people eating and drinking during labor?
  25. How long are you comfortable with me staying pregnant?

These are just a few questions to get you started on interviewing care providers. Other questions may arise as you are meeting with care providers and doing your own research.

Additional reading and study:

Choosing a provider: Understanding Medical and Midwifery Models of Care

What is Patient-Centered Maternity Care?

What is Evidence-Based Maternity Care & Birth?

How to pick an AMAZING care provider

Check your knowledge:

What is the medical model of care?

What is the midwifery model of care?

What is evidence-based maternity care?

What does “mother-friendly” mean?

What are some “red flags” that can let you know that your care provider is not a good fit?

What are some clues that your care provider is preparing you for a birth that is different from the one you are planning?

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