Sorry for my absence last week, but I am back!
We are so accustomed to making choices on everything we do based on reviews. We take others experiences and try to apply them so that we can have a good experience too. However, this doesn’t really work when it comes to choosing a care provider. When I go out to eat, I want good food and service. When I go to a medical professional, I have more needs that are very specific to my medical history, emotions, and expectations from that visit. Choosing the right care provider while pregnant can make or break your experience.
What I mean by make or break is if you want a natural birth, and the care provider you choose doesn’t do that often, you may be left feeling gypped. If you want something else, you have to ask the right questions to make sure that provider will be right for you and help you achieve the goals you set forth. If they won’t do that, they may not be the right provider FOR YOU even though they were perfect for your BFF! So how do you really find the right provider? You ask tons of questions!
Start by seeking others opinions as we like to do. Say I want someone who ______. See which names come up more than once in those conversations. See the names our peers would say to avoid too. This is the starting point. It can be so hard if it’s just you and google, because they can say anything they want on a website, but when it comes down to it, we want a good mix of experiences with a specific provider to get a good feel for how they actually practice. Then where do you go? What questions should you be asking when you see them?
Your questions will vary based on your specific needs, but ask specific answers that force specific answers. Questions like “what is your cesarean rate?” is better than asking their vaginal delivery rate. Why is that? Well if it’s in line with the national average, 70%vaginal delivery sounds a lot better than 30% c-section. It makes them sound more successful. If you know their c-section rate should really be NO HIGHER than ~12% and theirs is more than double, that’s a red flag. Other questions include:
- How do you feel about birth plans?
- Have you worked with a doula before?
- How do you feel about other support people? How many would I be allowed to have in my room?
- What is your induction rate?
- What are the most common reasons you would induce?
- How do you feel about going “overdue”? Would you release me as a patient if I go past a specific point in this pregnancy?
- What positions have your moms delivered in? What is the most common?
- Are there childbirth education classes you recommend?
- Which birthing techniques are you familiar with? (Bradley, hypnobabies, etc) Will you support me in mine?
- How do you feel about delayed cord clamping? Skin to skin?
- Do you require fetal monitoring?
- If there are other providers in the same practice, do they adhere to the same policies?
- Of your clients, what percentage do you actually attend their births?
- What is your policy regarding a breach presentation?
- What percentage of your patients receive an episiotomy?
There can be as many questions as you want. The point is to ask them. You can ask a care provider these questions at any time while under their care. If you feel like there are tons of red flags, pay attention to that.Switch providers if you feel its the right choice. As long as you are still pregnant, you can switch. If you feel really good about who your provider is, that is the goal. You have to remember, anyone you ask to attend your birth will likely see you when you are most vulnerable, make sure they will support you in that time, not take advantage. There are no stupid questions either. I know that’s cliche, but we seek professional opinions because we have questions. We want their opinion. Ask all the questions!
For help with more questions please feel free to contact me. Happy asking!