Congratulations on your new motherhood journey!
Once you saw that positive pregnancy test, questions began to flow. One of the first questions should be where am I going to birth? For some women, providers are considered long before conception, but for most choosing a provider comes second to picking the bassinet or color of the nursery. Your choice of birth provider will determine the level of involvement you have in making decisions, amount of care you receive, options, and interventions you experience during birth. In today’s healthcare system, we put our well-being and health of our child in the hands of individuals we barely know.
Get informed and birth like a boss!
When choosing a provider ask yourself these simple questions:
Do you know how they handle certain situations? Do you know their preferences and do they know yours? Do you know how often they administer medical interventions?
Asking questions and getting information is the best way to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal – the healthiest and safest birth possible for you and your baby.
Let's first talk options...did you know you had them?
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs): Specially trained, licensed professionals experienced in providing obstetric and newborn care. Women who want a natural birth may choose a midwife. They help women deliver with little to no treatments such as vacuums/forceps, c-sections, or pain medicines. CNMs work with low-risk births and work closely with physicians who are able to assist if complications arise. They can be found at home births, birth centers, and hospitals.
Family Practice Doctor (FPs): A medical doctor who specializes in the health care of all family members. Some FPs only provide only prenatal care and will have others deliver your baby. They can be found in private practices and hospitals
Obstetrician-Gynecologist: Is a doctor who is specially trained to provide surgical and medical care to women. You may be advised to see an Obstetrician if you have had earlier pregnancy complications, expecting twins or triplets, have a pre-existing medical condition, need to have a cesarean delivery or have had one in the past. They are found in hospitals and private practices.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists/ Perinatologist: Are obstetricians who specialize in the care of women who may have conditions that would result in a high-risk pregnancy. For women with chronic health problems, Perinatologist work to keep you as health as possible during and after pregnancy. They conduct preconception counseling, manage high-risk pregnancies, and can be found in hospitals.
Now that you know your options, let us help you with narrowing it down to the perfect provider for you. Want to look like the most educated and prepared mom on the block? Take these list of questions with to your appointment and be the boss of your birth.
What role do I play in helping to achieve a safe and healthy birth?
This question will help you figure out if your provider will invite your input and respect your choices. Maternal health providers have important skills and knowledge but they don’t always know everything about your needs and what is best for you and your baby.
What books do you recommend me to read?
A book recommendation can tell a lot about what a providers practice is like. Does the book reflect your values?
What standard practices should I expect in labor?
Although many interventions may seem to make the birthing process easier, a large percentage of care that pregnant women receive can have unintended consequences and potentially make birth less safe and more difficult. Many practices in hospital maternity care aren’t always necessary or safe like induction, c-section, and the usage of forceps. Ask this question and determine what to expect.
How do you feel about me bringing someone like a doula for support?
Doulas are a great option to ensure you get consistent one-on-one care in any birth setting. Doulas will help coach you and your partner during the process so that the provider may focus solely on the medical side of your birth. Finding out how your provider feels about such support will give major insight that can help you make a decision.
Will I be able to move around during labor?
Changing positions, walking, and moving around are known to help make the labor process easier. You want to find out if you will be confined to a bed or have freedom to get up and moving for comfort measure and birthing positions.
Do you have referrals for specialist in the case of emergency?
Although you may have a birth plan set, we never know what the future holds. The best option is to be always prepared. Ask your provider about who they have connections with to ensure you will be in great hands no matter where you go.
Let's do this thing momma!
- Nandi, Doula