Choosing The Right Care Provider.

Updated: Mar 1

Choosing the right Care provider plays a very important role in how you feel about your birth. To feel completely supported, cared for and safe during your pregnancy, birth and your post-partum period you want to have someone who really cherishes the same values and beliefs as you. It will be a massive encouragement to know they are going to do all they can to help you follow the birth plan you have thought so long about. Below are some crucial questions to ask before deciding if your care provider is going to be the perfect fit for you.

What are their philosophies and believes on birth?

Your care provider may view birth as a medical process which needs continuous management or they may believe that the process of birth is natural and can proceed without intervention unless they considerate it to be absolutely  necessary so finding a care provider with the same or similar believes towards birth is important so that you are able to achieve the birth plan you desire.

How long have they been practicing and what births do they specialise in?

Looking back on your birth plan do you want to have a natural physiological birth? Then having a care provider who specialises in caesarean births is probably not going to be the right choice for you. Of course, if you are comfortable with having a caesarean then you want to be confident that your care provider is highly experienced. 

Which hospital/hospitals do they attend? 

If you are looking to birth in a specific hospital you want to make sure your care provider is able to or will attend your birth at that hospital. Remember your care provider is going to know you and your birth plan very well by the time your baby is ready to enter the world so you want to make sure they are going to be there to support you. Maybe you really want that specific person to be your care provider and are happy for them to have a backup on the day of birth so of course ask the question Do you have a backup for if you are unable to attend my birth? If so, can I meet them during my pregnancy so I can ensure they are onboard with my birth plan and preferences?

What is their induction rate? And when do they consider induction to be necessary?

If you’re not interested in any intervention it may be best to find a care provider who will has a lower induction rate. Some care providers may encourage you to bring labour on around your estimated due date or use induction as a preventative measure to stop complications from occurring late in pregnancy. From here some more questions may be: Will they let you go over your due date? If so, for how long? 

What is their Caesarean rate? What kind of woman centered options do you have for the case of needing a caesarean? 

A Care provider with a higher caesarean rate is more likely to recommend one rather than those whose rates are lower. Finding out the rate at which the mothers they have previously cared for have birthed via caesarean section is a great if you wish to avoid being recommended one yourself. There are, however some circumstances that cannot be avoided and, in that case, you want to make sure you are going to have options that support your needs and wants therefore you may go on to ask Can I have my baby placed straight onto my chest? And can I still have the golden hour with my baby? Or even can I have the curtain lowered so I can assist in pulling my baby from my womb?

Will they support you to birth your breech baby vaginally? And under what conditions?

A lot of doctors or midwifes may recommend that you birth your baby via a caesarean section if the baby is in a breech position but under the right conditions you are absolutely  able to try you will just need to keep in mind that you may need an emergency caesarean birth. Finding out what conditions your care provide has on breech births is crucial to avoid any pressure or stress if you find out your baby is not in an ideal position later in your pregnancy.

Do they preform episiotomies? If so, in what situations?

Routine episiotomies are no longer recommended although in certain cases you may still be recommended to have one so ask your care provider. If this procedure is a hard no in your birth plan ask about alternatives to try before using the procedure and if they would prefer you to naturally tear instead. Remember many women go through labour naturally without tearing at all.

Can I use a birthing pool?

Some hospitals do not have birthing pools available within their facility. Other hospitals do but do not allow you to birth in the water and only allow you to use it as a pain relief. Get your care provider to refer you to the birthing center or hospital that is going to meet your wishes.

Do you support homebirths?

You definitely want to make sure that you are supported in your decision to birth at home if that is how you wish to bring you baby into the world. 

How many support people am I allowed at my birth?

If you wish to have more support than just your partner, do not be shy to ask for more! This may come down to the hospital or birthing center's policies but usually your care provider will have a good idea on how many people are allowed to be present. 

How do you feel about Doula’s?

Whether you have decided to hire a doula or not this is another great question to ask to get more of an idea on the way your care provider views birth. Maybe they agree that hiring a doula is a great idea and can tell you more about the benefits of having a doula present. If they don’t agree ask, why?

What kind of care will I receive after the birth of my baby?

After the birth of your baby your body goes through the most dramatic hormonal change of its life so you want to ensure you are going to have a great deal of support to help you through the stage of becoming a mother just in case you do need it. You may also have had complications during your birth and may need extra care so are you going to get exactly what you need for your chosen care provider?

What kind of breastfeeding support do you offer?

Unfortunately, breastfeeding may not come to you as naturally as you hoped for so making sure you’re going to have that support ready and available to you is going to help you get through any hiccups that may come along in your breastfeeding journey.

written by Tenneille Sloan

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