What can I do to help ensure that the care that I receive during labor
and birth will be best for me and my baby?
Your choice of caregiver and choice of birth setting can have a major impact on
the care that you receive during labor and birth.
You may need to explore many possibilites to find a caregiver and birth setting
that offer care consistent with the best evidence and with your needs and preferences.
This site can help you make thoughtful, informed decisions about these matters.
It is not possible to know ahead of time exactly what your labor experience will be like.
Being as informed as possible in advance will help you deal wisely with any new decisions
that may arise at the time.
It is important to learn about your optieons, get answers to your questions and think
about your preferences well before labor begins.
Be sure your partner, if you have one, is also aware of your wishes and is prepared to speak on your behalf if the need arises.
You have the right to be given good information and to have your decisions honored.
Questions to ask a provider:
1. What feelings do you have about childbirth preparations classes and natural, unmedicated childbirth?
2. What percentages of your clients are looking for natural childbirth? How many actually have it?
3. Philosophy of care during labor and childbirth?
4. Do you have any routine, standing orders for your patients in labor? If so, what are they?
5. Can your orders be altered to conform to my needs and choices?
Specific issues to address in this category might include: fetal monitoring,
IVs, Pitocin, medications, rupture of membranes, episiotomy, forceps,
vacuum extractor, urinary catheter, labor and birth positions, mobility during labor,
labor support, tub/shower, squat bar, birth ball, etc.
6. Cesarean section/VBAC rate?
7. Scenarios: Overdue, labor-failure to progress, slow labor, prolonged pushing stage,
PROM (premature rupt of memebranes, etc.)
8. How do you feel about birth plans?
9. What are the chances you will be present when I give birth?
Are your hospital privileges with a teaching hospital?
10. Who covers for you and would I have the opportunity to meet that person?
11. Will that person respect the arrangements I have made with you?
12. Make the following observation as you visit or call the provider’s office:
Is the office atmosphere comfortable?
Are you treated in a courteous manner by the office staff?
Are phone calls answered swiftly and efficiently?
What are the office hours and do they conform to your schedule?
Here are a few OB/GYN’s that were recommended to me who are known to offer mother-friendly care:
Dr. Eesha Bhattacharyya, 259-7949, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. William McKenzie, 623-2212
SELECTING A PEDIATRICIAN
You should schedule an interview with prospective Pediatricians (or Family Practitioners)
about the middle of your pregnancy.
Most doctors will schedule an evening appointment, and most do not charge for this appointment.
Ask to have a “prenatal conference.” It’s also a good idea to take your husband or the prospective father along with you.
This conference will allow you to get to know each other, and let you know if you can work together.
THIS IS NOT A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR AT THIS INTERVIEW, but some ideas about the kind of things you may want to discuss.
1. Will you and the doctor be comfortable in the parent-doctor relationship?
(Ask the dr. to tell you a bit about herself-why she decided to go into Pediatrics…)
2. Does she make you feel comfortable asking questions? Do you like her “bedside manner”?
(If she brushes off your questions now, she’ll probably continue to do so once your baby is here.
Does she listen when you are talking & seem genuinely interested or is she interrupting & controlling the conversation?)
3. Is the office location convenient for you? How does the office staff make you feel?
4. Do you feel you would be able to call her as frequently as you feel necessary when the baby
first comes home, just to help calm those new parent jitters?
Does she have special telephone consult hours?
5. If you wish to call the office to ask questions about illness or possible illness, who will speak to you?
6. Is the doctor in group or solo practice?
If it’s a group, ask her what drew her to that particular office.
Who will be on call after-hours, while he/she is on vacation or otherwise unavailable?
(You should meet those people too)
Is their style, philosophy & approach to medicine closely matched with hers?
7. What are the office hours? Is the office open evenings or weekends?
Who handles evening/weekend phone calls?
If there will be a long wait in the office, will the staff try to let you know, and reschedule your appointment if necessary?
8. Is there a separate waiting room area for well/sick children?
9. What is the charge for an office visit? For a “recheck” of the same condition?
If appropriate, will she bill your insurance, or is she/he a provider-member of your group health plan?
10. What are her professional qualifications?
Does she/he belong to local or national professional organizations?
11. With what hospitals is she affiliated?
Can she coordinate consultations with specialists, if need be?
12. How does she feel about circumcision?
And how does that relate to your feelings?
Is anesthetic used – topical or injectable? Why or why not?
13. How doe she feel about breast feeding?
How does that relate to your feelings?
How many of her patients are still breast feeding at three and six months?
Does she refer to a lactation consultant if necessary?
14. What are her feelings on sleeping arrangements and why?
(“I’m interested in infant sleep & feeding patterns, what are your general thoughts?)
16. Does the doctor incorporate any alternative medicine into her practice?
17. Can she recommend a good baby care book, breast-feeding book, support groups?
*Find a Pediatrician with whom you feel comfortable enough to voice your difference of
opinion-someone who will listen patiently when these tough issues arise, gently offering suggestions without passing harsh judgement.