Do you have the BEST Ob-Gyn?
Whether you are considering an unmedicated birth, an epidural, or a planned cesarean, your relationship with your obstetrician should feel supportive and respectful. Because your doctor or midwife will shape how you think about your body and your baby, and determine much of the labor and delivery process. This may not be the best time to simply take a recommendation from a friend.
Below are the most important questions to ask during a consultation or at your next appointment to get a sense of your provider’s professional priorities. Once you have your answers, you can decide whether or not you would like to interview an alternative. Childbirth educators and doulas are great people to ask for advice since they have experience with many different doctors and midwives. Remember, you only have one chance to have this baby so there is no excuse for working with a doctor who does not give you the time and dignity you deserve.
About your relationship:
How long do you spend with patients each visit?
How much guidance will you offer me throughout pregnancy and postpartum?
About their philosophy:
How often do you support women through unmedicated birth?
Do you prefer women have unmedicated births or an epidural?
Do you recommend I take a childbirth education class?
Do you recommend that I hire a doula?
What is your perspective on letting labor start on its own versus inducing labor to begin?
What percentage of your clients are induced?
What are the most common reasons for induction?
What percentage of your clients have cesareans?
About the birth location:
Can my partner stay with me during labor and postpartum without an additional fee?
You might be surprised to know there is a huge range in the answers you may receive. There is no standard of care between doctors, midwives, and hospitals. Even those working within the same practice. Working with a doctor who is patient-centered and flexible is usually the best option for a safe and satisfying delivery.
If you already know what your vision of childbirth entails and already have an OB, you can (re)interview your doctor or midwife to ensure that their practice is aligned with your vision. If you find that you are not in the best hands, many doctors and midwives will accept late transfers anytime between week 28 and 26 in pregnancy so shop around!
If you do not yet know what your “vision” of childbirth entails consider a childbirth education class that can help you get a sense of your options.