Picking your Provider

Picking your Doctor

The results are in…two pink lines!! Congratulations, you are newly pregnant. So many feelings flood you; excitement, nervousness, love, overwhelm, shock, giddiness and many more. What do you do? Who do you tell? What are the first things you need to do? For most people, they want to have an early ultrasound to make sure everything is okay. Where do you go to get your ultrasound? A lot of women go to their current OBGYN not realizing gynecological care and obstetric care are different. One area specializes in female anatomy and health and the other specializes in the pregnant mother and growing baby. Maybe your OBGYN who has done all your gynecological care is the perfect provider to support you through your pregnancy or maybe not. How do you know if they are the right obstetric provider; first you need to answer this question:

What is your stance on pain management? Are you thinking you want an epidural? Are you hoping for an unmedicated birth? The answer to this question will help you narrow down your search. If you think you will be wanting an epidural the moment you walk through the doors, then picking a provider that is in complete agreement that an epidural is the way to have your a baby will be the way to go. On the flip side, if your biggest desire (after healthy mom and baby) is an unmedicated birth, hiring your family OBGYN who has an epidural rate of 90% may not be the best fit for you. However, a midwife group with a 10% epidural rate would be someone to talk with. You can find this information out easily by asking on Facebook groups. “I’m newly pregnant and looking for an OBGYN or Midwife that will help me get my epidural super quick” or “I’m looking for an OBGYN or Midwife who will help me have an unmedicated birth”. Trust me when I say you will get a ton of responses. Write down the top five most named providers suggested. Next, you will want to call each office and ask questions to the front office staff. Questions like…

  1. Can you tell me what (Dr. Smith) thinks of (your type of birth preference for pain management/coping) ex: Hi, can you share with me what Dr. Smith’s stance or thoughts are on moms not using any pain management medications like an epidural? Do most of his patients who desire to not use medications end up having the unmedicated birth they want? 
  2. Does this practice take your insurance? 
  3. Can you tell me (Dr. Smith’s) cesarean rate? 
  4. Does (Dr. Smith) have a vacation currently scheduled two weeks before or after the time I am estimated to give birth? 
  5. Does (Dr. Smith) have partners and do they rotate call? How likely is it that (Dr. Smith) will be the one who catches my baby? 
  6. (If using a midwife) if I needed a cesarean, who would be the OBGYN that would do the surgery? Do I meet them during my appointments? 
  7. How does (Dr. Smith) feel about birth doulas? (This one is super important:-D)

After calling you should have a good idea of the practice, the way they work, and that providers average statistics. Cross off the providers that felt like a no to you. The remaining providers will be the ones you schedule a meet and greet with. During the meet and greet you will ask them more questions to really find out if your desires will match with what they are comfortable doing while supporting you. 

Meet and greet questions. 

Before the meet and greet, you should have an idea of your thoughts/stance to these questions too. This way, whatever their answers, you will know if they align with your desires. 

1. What are your thoughts on induction? If everything is good with me and baby, how long can I stay pregnant before you think it’s safer to induce rather than staying pregnant? What if I want to just schedule an induction at 39 weeks? 

2. If I do not want to induce once I am 40 weeks; do you insist on any special requirements to feel comfortable with me staying pregnant longer? 

3. What methods are your normal go-to for induction? Can you explain them to me?

4. What are your thoughts on movement during labor? Can I move freely if I want to or do you prefer I stay in bed? 

5. What is your stance on baby heart monitoring? Do you prefer your patients to have the baby’s heartbeat monitored the whole time or only every so often? 

6. Do you prefer for my waters to break on their own, even if I begin to push with them still intact, or is there a time in my labor you prefer to break my bag of waters if it hasn’t broken on its own? 

7. What vaccines do you desire your patients to get? What if I don’t want them? 

8. What is your stance on shower and tub use during labor? 

9. What is your stance on an IV? Do you require me to have fluids running? Do you require an IV lock in place but not required to be used? Are you okay if I don’t want one at all? 

9. What is your stance on tearing vs an episiotomy? 

10. If I want to encapsulate my placenta; do you have any concerns with allowing me to do so? 

11. Are you comfortable with me pushing in any position I find comfortable at that time?

12. If my baby needs help being born do you prefer vacuum or forceps? 

13. How many ultrasounds do you do? Do you make decisions about how long I can stay pregnant or suggest cesareans from the weights/size you get after 20 weeks? 

Now, you can ask more than is on this list and you may not need to ask all of these questions listed here depending on your preferences. Remember though, no matter your preferences you are hiring them. They are providing a service to you. You probably wouldn’t hire a builder to build your house if you wanted a ranch and they specialize in split levels and especially not if they require you to have a split level built when your dream is a ranch. You would find someone else. Finding the right provider is a big deal. This is the person you ultimately choose to trust to help keep you and your baby safe and healthy. They should align well with the preferences you desire. 

If you are reading this and feel like “Well crud. I’m 36 weeks and I don’t think I picked the right provider for me? Am I too late/too pregnant to switch doctors?”  Glad you asked friend. No, you are not too late. If you are considering switching this far into pregnancy some providers may already be full, but you can still find one that is a better fit for you.  Moms have an easier time birthing their baby when they feel they fully trust their provider. They appreciate they no longer feel they have to go in ready for a fight. They can enjoy the atmosphere their provider puts off and feel supported and comfortable to talk to the OBGYN or Midwife they choose. 

Want four easy steps to help yourself have a great birth experience?

Pick the right provider for you!

Hire the doula that makes you feel at ease and confident. 

Pick a chiropractor that is Webster Certified. 

Choose a childbirth education class that is deep in education for the birth you are hoping for. 

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