Whether you have an OB/GYN, Nurse Midwife, or Midwife, these are questions to keep in mind. It is important to get an overall sense of how your healthcare professional views pregnancy, labor, birth, and even postpartum because that will directly impact how you give birth.
For example, OB/GYN’s will almost always say they deliver the baby whereas some Midwives will say they “catch” or assist while you deliver the baby. These differences play out in policy and protocol of every single healthcare setting whether that is in a hospital, birth center, or in your home. The policies and protocols will then affect what you what will happen the day of the birth.
Some key things to keep in mind are the last weeks of pregnancy and the birth itself. Knowing whether or not a healthcare professional will allow you to go beyond 40 weeks is crucial and what their ideology on induction is too. If you have a chance for induction, it is then equally important to understand what an induction is and when this would become a possibility to you. In general, you should become familiar with multiple outcomes for birth just in case something other than what you have planned occurs.
I am trying to encourage women to think of the bigger setting in which they are operating. There are always factors at play from giving birth to breastfeeding to childrearing. That being said, here is a list of questions you can ask your healthcare provider to help you get an understanding of their ideology and best practices when it comes to the birth of you baby:
- What is your philosophy on birth? How do you think birth affects a woman?
- What tests can I expect to be done throughout my pregnancy? Am I allowed to decline services or treatment? You are always allowed to decline services or treatment but sometimes it is hard to decline when you want to. Asking this opens up the chance for you to decline in the future.
- Do you typically do vaginal checks during prenatal appointments? When?
- What testing is required for a late baby? Starting at how many weeks?
- At what point past 40 weeks do you induce labor with drugs?
- Will I need to be monitored during labor? If so, how?
- What techniques do you use to prevent vaginal tearing? What will you specifically do to reduce the chance of tears or episiotomy?
- What do you recommend for pain in labor? How do women typically manage pain with you as their provider?
- How do you feel about women laboring in different positions? What is allowed or not allowed during labor? Can I eat or drink during labor?
- Will a lactation consultant or counselor be available after birth? If so, how soon after birth will I be able to see them?
- Will a nurse or other health professional be providing newborn care instruction at any point during my postpartum stay? If this does take place, this usually happens only in a hospital setting.