Often, when I ask women how they chose their care provider for their pregnancy, I am met with a bit of confusion.
“I’m just seeing the OB that I’ve seen for years” is a pretty common response. If they didn’t already have an OB, they maybe just called up the office that their insurance covered, and set up the first available appointment. This is a pretty standard way to find a provider for pregnancy and birth in America.
But would you do the same when planning for any other big event? Take a wedding photographer, for instance. You would look through pictures to get an idea of what their style was, read reviews on how they treat their clients, maybe meet them for an interview to see what they offer and how you vibe with them.
Shouldn’t we put at least as much effort into who we are choosing to support us as we go through something as transformational as birth?
Another thing I have heard is, “Well I see an OB for my annual visits, wouldn’t they be offended if I chose a midwife or shopped around for another provider for my pregnancy care?”
Maybe. But if you start your parenting journey more concerned about the hurt feelings of someone you see once a year than you are about your own well-being, it’s going to be a long road, my friend.
I am not telling you to leave an OB that you love, by any means. But be willing to ask yourself what you are looking for in a provider, and then see if they match up with what you want.
Here are some of my top questions to ask a care provider before partnering with them on your pregnancy journey:
What are their c-section rates? (10-15% is what the World Health Organization considers to be a reasonable number for necessary surgical births. Many traditional midwives find that to be an even higher percentage than they believe necessary. Currently, the national average is somewhere in the ballpark of 33%.)
What is their birth philosophy? Are they willing to support your choices, even if they don’t agree with them?
Are they an advocate for informed choice, or do they “do first, ask later” when it comes to labor intervention?
Will they be on-call for you specifically, or do they work in a group?
Do they support your right to move around, be upright, use non-medical comfort measures, push in an upright position, and otherwise do whatever you feel is right for you and your body during the birthing process?
Do you feel safe and comfortable with them?
Do you know how you feel about all these questions?
If you are unclear about your own ideas surrounding birth, want to explore more options, or just have questions about pregnancy and birth in general, reach out to me!
Virtual Birth Planning isn’t just for people wanting to birth at home or without pain medication. It’s a way to supplement your pregnancy and labor knowledge, talk through your pregnancy questions, and come up with a custom birth plan that is right for you.
In the end, your provider is not the one birthing your baby. You are. Make sure that you are informed, supported, and equipped for this experience! It’s not just the start to your baby’s life on the outside, it’s the event that will set the stage for your entire life together with your baby.