When your sink breaks or you need someone to fix your roof, a few Google searches is all it takes to find a repairman for the job. But how do you go about choosing something as important as the person who will deliver your child? This is an intimate relationship that has an impact on not only your delivery day but on the months before and after your child’s birth as well. It is important to spend time researching the care providers in your area to determine which one will be a good fit for your needs and preferences.
Having a positive rapport with your birth team sets the mood for how your whole birth experience will progress. If you feel comfortable with your provider, you will be more likely to discuss concerns that come up along the way and receive the preventative care that you need. This might be something as simple as needing a patient, listening ear when your body and life are changing in a very dramatic way. The best providers understand that proper treatment includes both the medical needs of the mom and baby as well as the emotional needs of the family unit as a whole. (Of course, when confronted with needs that are outside their scope of practice, they will also offer referrals to other providers who can better address those issues.)
While every parent’s search is unique, the following is a list of things to consider when choosing a provider to care for you during your pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.
1. Use your family and friends as resources. If you know a family with a newborn or young child, ask them about their birth experience. Did they enjoy their interactions with the provider(s) they had chosen, whether it be during prenatal appointments or at the birth itself? Did they feel that their questions and concerns were properly addressed? Were their wishes about their birthing plan honored whenever possible? Would they return to the same provider for future pregnancies?
2. Take a tour of the local birthing center or hospital. How does it feel? Cold and clinical? Or warm and inviting? Ask the staff for details about the facility and about their policies for laboring moms. Will you be allowed to walk around and change positions freely? Will they require you to be hooked up to IV nourishment or will you be permitted to eat and drink as you wish? What sort of equipment is available for pain management? Inquire about the permissions and restrictions that come with the options they offer.
3. Meet with your potential providers and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are choosing to deliver naturally, how will they support you on that journey? If you would like to have a vaginal birth after having a previous cesarean (also known as a VBAC), what are their policies for that option? How do they feel about your preferences on pain management, episiotomies, delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin contact, etc?
4. Find out about policies relating to family and other visitors. Who do you want to be with you during the labor and delivery? Does the care provider or birth facility have a limit on how many support people can be in the room? If you have any young children that you would like to be involved in the experience, will they be allowed? Is there a time that your visitors will be asked to leave?
5. Explore your options for what might happen if the pregnancy or birth does not go as planned. How does the care provider typically handle the more common complications that may arise? During pregnancy, which issues would the care provider need to refer you to a more qualified doctor? During birth, would the birth facility be able to handle complications or would you and/or baby need to be transferred?
6. Think beyond the actual birth itself. What will your postpartum stay be like in the birthing facility you choose? What support will the staff be able to provide for breastfeeding in the few hours after birth? Will they have a lactation counselor available around the clock during your stay? How will your care provider continue to support you once you return home? What programs and services are available both during pregnancy and postpartum?
In the end, choosing the right care provider for your pregnancy and birth is a very personal decision. While it’s always a good idea to get suggestions from your community of local moms, it’s important to find the one that’s best for YOU and your family. Give us a call to see if Celebrate Birth is a good fit for your needs and preferences! We’d be happy to answer your questions about our prenatal, birth, and postpartum care, whether you’re choosing to deliver at home, at our birth center, or in the hospital. Interested in touring our birth center? Advanced sign-up is required; give us a call today at 863-680-2229.