I was listening recently to an episode of Fresh Air on NPR in which the show's host, Terry Gross, interviewed journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal on the high price of healthcare, and in which the two women spent quite a lot of time discussing US childbirth costs.
Pregnancy is full of changes. Your body changes, your emotions are all over the place, and even your house changes to accommodate all of the “necessary” baby accessories. One of the less common changes – but one with potentially big impact – is changing your doctor or midwife. If the prenatal care you’re receiving isn’t meeting your needs or if your care provider doesn’t support your preferences for birth, consider switching to a new practice. Finding a new doctor or midwife, even if you’re in your third trimester, isn’t as difficult as you may think.
Unless you’re a detective or have the last name Woodward or Bernstein, you may not feel all that comfortable asking your OB-GYN difficult questions. Why? They can make your subject—and you—uncomfortable, squirmy or standoffish.
After learning that you’re pregnant, your main agenda is simple: Tell your partner and celebrate! But once the happy news sinks in, the next steps can seem overwhelming. To help simplify the situation, we asked Akua Afriyie-Gray, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola Medical Center, for the most important moves a pregnant woman should make.
Is the hospital you’ve chosen totally supportive of the six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices?
Once you educate yourself on the elements of a healthy birth, there may be times you need to advocate for yourself and your baby.
Hopefully you’re able to choose a birthplace that largely supports your goals for birth, but if that’s not possible, here are some suggestions that might make negotiating easier.
People are shocked—SHOCKED!—at the news in a recent study that spells out one of the glaring reasons why our Cesarean section rate is so ridiculously high. According to a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and published in the journal Health Affairs, C-section rates vary tenfold throughout the United States—ranging from 7.1 percent to 69.9 percent.
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.
Having a doula is like having a personal trainer. You’re familiar with the equipment at the gym, but a trainer gives you the support you need to finish your workout. Your OB-GYN is usually there in the active part of labor and, obviously, during the delivery, but a doula will come to your home when labor starts and support you there as long as possible. Studies show that the more time a woman stays at home, the less chance of interventions.
Pregnancy is a time when you need advice and information from your doctor, and you’ll likely get it if you ask enough questions. But prenatal checkups can fly by so fast that you forget to ask. Or you may be too flustered to understand the answers.
“Many little things can get in the way of a woman communicating effectively with her obstetrician,” says Stephanie Teal, M.D., an OB-GYN at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. In fact, even the most self-confident expectant mom can use a few pointers on how to talk with her doc.
When I found out I was pregnant, I chose my OB-GYN for two reasons: She came highly recommended and I had heard through other moms that she was supportive of natural childbirth.
The fact that she also shared her practice with a midwife didn’t play a part in my decision. At the time, I thought you only needed a midwife if you were having a home birth. I knew I was having my baby in a hospital, so what did I need a midwife for?
Eight years ago when I had my first son, I initially met with an OB-GYN recommended to me by a friend. I adored him—as well as his partners: a dynamic team of certified nurse-midwives. After learning that midwives tend to spend a lot of time with patients, have relatively few patients who require Cesarean sections and also encourage medication-free deliveries, I decided to have a midwife from the practice deliver my baby.