Care providers are not interchangeable; no two are the same. Most serve with a heart of true passion and care; some serve solely with a wallet to fill or ego to boost. A licensed midwife or doctor does NOT mean a well-trained and educated one. More often than not, a license only limits how they can serve you. You may want a care provider who is there to serve YOU, not serving the state or medicalized model of birth. Or at least to know where on that spectrum you both stand.
It is vital that you care provider supports your birth wishes. You are most likely to get the type of care that is most common with your provider and hospital. If that particular provider or hospital has a 70% induction rate, you're more likely to have an induction than not. Have these discussions ahead of time and know that you can always change providers.
Questions to ask your care provider:
How do you feel about natural, physiological birth?
What is your birth philosophy?
How do you view your role during birth?
Do you prefer to induce before 40 (or 41/42) weeks or are you comfortable waiting for spontaneous labor if my baby is doing well?
What are the most common reasons you suggest labor induction?
Do you attend vaginal breech births? Are you familiar with the hands-off approach?
Are you familiar with any techniques to turn a breech baby besides the manual version?
Do you attend twin births or VBAC?
I am an abuse survivor and this may affect my experience. Do you have training in how to support someone with trauma?
Are you comfortable with me moving around and making noise in labor?
What is your c-section rate?
What circumstances would rule out your attendance / require you to transfer my care?
Can you list each scenario that could possibly “risk” me out of your care?
What complications/emergencies are you prepared to handle?
Are you willing to allow birth to progress when there are variations of normal? What would you consider a variation of normal?
Am I required to complete any kind of testing?
What happens if I refuse appointments, procedures, or suggested medications?
How do you view my partner’s role in birth?
Are you ok with me refusing a saline lock?
Are you comfortable with intermittent monitoring? Can we use a handheld doppler or fetoscope?
How often do you listen to the baby’s heart rate during labor?
Do you require vaginal exams?
Do you have birth balls, peanut balls, and squat bars?
Can I give birth in the tub or would I have to get out of the water before the baby is born?
Are you comfortable with me pushing in whatever position is most comfortable for me?
What do you consider prolonged labor/birth pushing? Are you comfortable with no time limit on pushing?
Can my partner catch our baby?
If my baby is doing well, can he/she go straight onto my body for skin-to-skin?
How do you feel about delayed cord clamping? How long do you consider “delayed”? Would you be fine with us leaving the cord attached until the placenta is born?
If my baby needs resuscitation, can it be done while the baby is on my body or on the bed next to me in order to allow for the full blood transfusion from the placenta?
Are you comfortable with allowing the placenta to release on its own without adding Pitocin or pulling on the cord as long as my bleeding is normal?
How do you prevent/treat excessive postpartum bleeding?
What’s your episiotomy rate?
Do you check for tears after birth?
Do you prefer to suture all tears or are you comfortable letting a small tear to heal naturally?
Can we have the first hour or two to bond with our baby before newborn procedures?
Can the newborn procedures be performed while my baby is on me?
If I’m feeling well, how soon can I leave the hospital?
How long do you stay after the birth?
What is your schedule for follow-up care?