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It’s important to work with your health care provider early on, because routine care isn’t always designed for you and your baby’s individuality. Remember that getting the care that matches your and your baby’s needs may mean saying, “I’d like to consider another option.”
4. How do you feel about me bringing someone like a doula for one-on-one support?
Many women count on having a nurse by their side to provide important support. But labor nurses may be caring for several women at the same time, and may not have the time to provide contraction by contraction support. Dads are often expected to fill this role, but many times they are new to the process too and need cues on how to best be supportive in labor.
A continuous support partner, such as a doula, can help you navigate your labor, support good decision-making and help make sure you’re able to communicate your wishes to your health care provider. Keep in mind, some health care providers may not agree to the use of a continuous support partner, such as a doula. Be prepared to ask them “why?”
5. What is your rate for C-sections? What are the main reasons you perform them? Is there anything you know about me and my baby that might suggest I would need a C-section?
A health care provider’s C-section rate can tell you a lot. Cesarean surgery can save lives, but just like any other surgery, it carries risks for you and your baby. More and more babies are being delivered by cesarean, even when there’s not a good medical reason to do so. One of the best ways to reduce your chances of a C-section is to give birth in a location , and with a provider, that maintains low cesarean rates .
There is no federal requirement for health care providers to report this information, so you need to ask your care provider directly for these details. If your health care provider has a high rate because they say they care for many “high risk” women, be sure to probe about what they consider to be “high risk.”
6. Do you limit the length of labor? Or will you support continuing labor as long as my baby and I are doing OK?
Certain care providers and birthplaces may be under pressure to speed up the birthing process, or put a time limit on your labor and birth. Labor is an intense process, at times overwhelming and draining. But, the good news is that your body is perfectly designed to birth your baby.
It’s important for you to find out if your care provider will give your body and your baby time to move the process along, and let nature take its course . Childbirth education classes can help you identify various options to keep labor progressing.