Finding the right person to care for you and your baby during pregnancy, labor and birth is one of the most important decisions you will make, and it can help you feel confident to push for the safest, healthiest birth.
As you review doctors and midwives in your area, the following questions can help you find someone who will provide the care you are looking for. Asking questions and providing information builds trust, and it’s the best way to make sure everyone is working toward the same goal – the safest, healthiest birth possible for you and your baby.
1. What is my role in helping to achieve a safe and healthy birth?
This is an important question that will help you determine whether your care provider will be respectful of your choices and invite your input. By being an active and attentive participant in pregnancy, labor and birth, you can help achieve the best outcomes for you and your baby. Your health care provider – doctor or midwife – has important knowledge and skills, but they don’t always know everything about you or what is best for you and your baby. Find out how openly you can share your needs and work in partnership with your care provider to get the care that’s best for you.
2. What standard routine practices should I expect in labor?
This information will help you identify any practices that your care provider may see as needed or routine. While many interventions may seem like they would make childbirth easier, did you know that some of the care that pregnant women routinely receive can have unintended consequences and potentially make birth more difficult and less safe? Many practices in maternity care aren’t always necessary, including:
Get the most out of your conversation and be specific. Find out more here in Childbirth Challenges.
-Episiotomy (surgically cutting the area between the vagina and the anus, called the “perineum,” in order to make the vaginal opening larger)
-Restricting women from eating and drinking freely
-Separating mom and baby
3. How will you work with me as your patient to identify mine and my baby’s unique needs?
You and your baby’s unique needs should be front and center throughout pregnancy, labor and birth. Like any other kind of health care, maternity care isn’t perfect. A lot of the regular care that pregnant women get includes interventions that don’t always help and can sometimes even cause harm. Ask your care provider about what’s negotiable and what’s not. Weigh the answers you get; they will give you good insight into whether you’ve found a good match.