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13 important questions to ask when choosing a pregnancy care provider

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One of the most important tasks when starting your pregnancy journey is deciding who will be part of your birth team! For the next nine-plus months, you will see your pregnancy care provider lots, so you must find someone you like! How do you do that? Interview them! 

This article has 13 important questions you want to ask when choosing your pregnancy care provider, whether a midwife or an OB-GYN. 

First off, ask yourself, do you want a hospital birth? Or would you like to give birth at home or in a birth center? Answering this can help you decide on the type of care provider you are looking for. 

The goal is to find a simple yet realistic approach to having great prenatal care, the ability to make informed decisions, and an incredible birth journey.

Midwife or OB-GYN?

Before discussing the questions you ask the care provider, let’s first consider what type of provider you want for your pregnancy.

OB-GYNs have graduated from medical school and have had three or more years of additional training in obstetrics and gynecology, with most of their education in detecting and treating problems. They practice in full-service medical centers using the Medical Model of Care, meaning pregnancy and birth are significant medical events, and the caregiver’s role is to offer wellness guidelines and provide medical care to monitor and treat if any complications arise. Routine care protocols are provided, and the natural childbirth process is considered unpredictable and potentially unsafe. Providing routine interventions before problems occur and believing medical interventions can improve labor and birth, although scientific research has shown that routine use of technology and intervention isn’t always safer.  If problems arise, they intervene quickly with the tools most likely to have the quickest effect. 

Midwives are the typical maternity caregivers in most countries. The United States and Canada have become increasingly popular with midwifery. Their education and practice are based on the Midwifery Model of Care, which focuses on the needs of healthy women during the childbearing years. Birth is a significant event in a family’s life. Providing support with medical aspects of pregnancy and emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. A belief that the natural childbirth process is unpredictable but usually safe. A woman’s state of mind influences the labor process, so individualized care is necessary. Midwives monitor the mother’s and baby’s wellbeing and provide education and support. If problems arise, caregivers use less risky, more straightforward interventions to restore a healthy physiological process. Low intervention and cesarean rates are desirable. 

We can explore models of care more deeply, but let’s keep this simple. We could talk all day about statistics and studies on births, but that isn’t our goal here either. 

The most important mindset you need is to always, always, always follow your instinct. Stand up for yourself if something doesn’t seem right; if the provider doesn’t, walk away.

Every person on this planet is unique in their way. And every pregnancy on this planet is unique in its way.  If you want a holistic birth at home with a midwife, that is your unique approach. If you want a hospital birth with a team of doctors, that is your unique approach. Both methods are great, and what you choose and what you feel comfortable with is what is best. 

So, once you figure out where to give birth, ask around your area and get suggestions from friends and family who know providers that provide care in the hospital or birth center you wish to attend. 

finding a pregnancy care provider

The most important part when choosing your pregnancy care provider

Once you have your list of care providers you would like to meet, consider this like an interview; include your birth partner and doula (if you have one). The whole birth team can get a feel for how care will flow. Again, if things don’t feel right, you can cross that provider off your list. It might also take a couple of appointments to get a good feel, which is okay. 

OK, are you ready for the most crucial parts? Does the provider make you feel comfortable? And do they really take the time to listen and care? 

YOU WANT  TO SEEK CARE THAT WILL ENABLE YOU TO BE FULLY YOURSELF AT YOUR GREATEST POTENTIAL. 

Find someone competent, sensitive, and attentive to your entire being–care from the inside out. 

help from a pregnancy care provider

13 important questions to ask when choosing your pregnancy care provider

  1. What hospital or birth center do they practice in? Are they able to do home births?
  2. What insurance is accepted? Are there payment plan options?
  3. What is their experience? How many births have they attended? Ask about education. Ask about hobbies. Get to know your provider. They are people also. 
  4. What services are provided? Lab work, ultrasounds, water birth option, interventions, etc.
  5. How long are appointments? How many patients do they typically see in a day? You don’t want to feel rushed, and you should be getting full attention during your appts. 
  6.  Is this a private practice? Who delivers if the provider is unavailable? Will you be able to meet all the practicing staff?
  7. What is their philosophy on care? Fundamental beliefs about births. Do they match with yours? Find someone with shared beliefs. What does their model of care look like?
  8. Can they meet your individual needs? Sensitive to abuse, trauma, fear, etc. Do you feel you can trust them? Are you comfortable with them? Again, going back to your instinct.
  9. Do they provide postpartum care? 
  10. Are they comfortable with mental health wellness if needed? 
  11. Are you able to be free to make your own decisions? Do they respect individual’s birth plans? Do they allow you to have your birth team–birth partner, doula, etc.? 
  12. What are after-hours policies? Can you text or call with questions?
  13. How do they view pain medication, interventions, induction, and natural labor without intervention?

Takeaway

Remember to follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The right caregiver will give you the time of day, be more than happy to answer your questions and help support you on your journey. This is an exciting time, so your birth team needs to be on the same page to provide the help and support you need! 

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