Being an active participant in your pregnancy and birth journey begins with choosing your provider. You can begin the search for the right provider fit prior to becoming pregnant, in early pregnancy or anytime before your baby is born. So much of how your pregnancy and birth unfold are directly related to your care provider so this is really a key element. Every provider is not the right fit for every mother and vice verse. If you already have an established provider relationship, these questions can be used as a re-interview tool.
When asking these questions, take care to really listen to the answers. If a provider will not meet with you prior to you becoming a patient, that can be a red flag.
Begin by expressing your overall idea of what your best pregnancy, labor and birth looks like to provider.
- What are your core beliefs, training, experience surrounding pregnancy and birth?
- Why did you choose this line of work?
- What sets you apart from other maternity providers?
- How can you help me attain my vision for pregnancy, labor and birth?
- If I have a question, will you answer over the phone, by email or other avenue outside of prenatal appointments?
- How much time will you spend with me during each appointment?
- What routine tests are utilized during pregnancy? What if I decline these tests?
- What is the average birth experience of first time mothers in your practice?
- How do you approach the due date? What do you consider full term and when would I be considered overdue?
- What are your patient intervention rates? (IV, AROM, continuous monitoring, episiotomy, etc.) Cesarean rate? VBAC rate? Induction rate? What induction methods are used? When are forceps/vacuum used? These numbers are tracked.
- What positions are you comfortable catching in? Birth stool? Hand/Knees? Squatting? Standing? Water? How often do patients deliver in positions other than reclined or McRoberts positions?
- How do you feel about me having a birth plan?
- What if I hire a doula? Do you have an interest in who I work with or restrictions? If yes, why?
- Do you have an opinion on the type of childbirth or breastfeeding class I take? If so, what and why?
- Are you part of on call rotation or do you attend your own overall? Will the back-up or on-call CP honor the requests we have agreed on?
- Are there any protocols that are non-negotiable? If you cannot refuse – you are not consenting.
- What if I choose to decline a recommended procedure or intervention in labor or post birth, how will that be viewed?
- When will I see you during labor?
- What postpartum care or support do you offer?
- Will I be able to get questions answered or be seen before the 6 week postpartum visit?
Points to ponder afterward:
- Did you feel immediately comfortable and respected at the interview? If already with a CP, do you feel comfortable, respected and heard at each appointment?
- Were there red flags or white flags?
- Was or is care provider willing to answer questions in detail without being annoyed?
- Is choosing your care provider based on your insurance or lack of insurance?
- What are you willing to do in order to have the birth you really desire? Birth location?
- How much responsibility are you willing to take for the health care decisions for you and your baby?