Why is choosing a care provider one of the most important pregnancy decisions you will make?

Visit my website to learn more about my services. A woman’s choice of care provider for pregnancy and birth is one of the most important decisions she will make. This major decision is the major influence on how her birth will go: whether it will be caesarean, successful VBAC, epidural, or natural birth.

Some things to consider when deciding on a care provider are:

• What sort of relationship would you like to have with your care provider? Are you merely looking for physical check ups in pregnancy and someone to turn up for the last few minutes of the birth? Are you wanting to be cared for by strangers who do not know you or your wishes for birth / would you like to feel nurtured? Would you like to know the person who will assist you in birth? • How much information do you expect to receive? Are you happy with “It’s normal” in response to your questions, or do you need more information and a better understanding of your situation and progress and health? • Do you wish to be actively involved in the decisions made about your care or are you happy to leave all decision-making up to others? • Are you well and healthy? The majority of women are. If this is the case for you, your care provider could be a midwife or an obstetrician. If you have significant health issues, an obstetrician might be a better option.

It may take some time and energy to find the right care provider for your pregnancy and birth. It is very helpful to interview several midwives and obstetricians before deciding on the one that is right for you. This is a relationship that is worth investing in, and it’s important to make the right decision. Be prepared to pay for initial consultations with health professionals and consider this money well-spent. Everyone’s individual and a poor choice of care provider (for your needs) can have far-reaching effects.

What about place of birth?

There are three options for place of birth: home, birth centre and hospital. Midwifery care is available at all three locations. Obstetricians generally work only in hospitals, however a few will attend birth centre births. Knowing where you would like to birth your baby can help you in choosing a care provider. What should I look out for when I am interviewing care providers? One of the most important issues to consider really doesn’t need much consideration at all. How do you feel about your care provider at the end of the initial consultation? It’s a gut feel. You can trust your gut.

You will want to ask your care provider about his/her practices to ensure that their practices are consistent with what you’re wanting for your pregnancy and birth. If waterbirth is important to you, you need to find a place of birth and care provider who can provide this. It’s best to find this out at the initial consultation stage rather than at 38 weeks.

You will also want to explore your care provider’s philosophy on pregnancy and birth to ensure that there is a match with your own.

Are there any poor reasons for choosing a care provider?

Yes! And I hear them very often. It is not wise to choose a care provider because: • They are close to your home / office • Your mother used them • You feel you don’t have any other choices (there are always choices; it’s not a question of resources, it’s a question of resourcefulness) • They are female / they are male. Plenty of female obstetricians are more interventionist than male obstetricians. • Your GP recommended them (unless you are sure of the basis for that recommendation) • They are cheap • They do an ultrasound at every visit • They delivered you • It would offend Aunt Bessie if you didn’t go to Dr X • Although you don’t like the person, you’re sure they’ll be fine on the day (your gut is always right)

Can I change my care provider? I’m already 39 weeks pregnant!

It’s never too late to change. It’s uncertain and there are moments of awkwardness but it’s of most importance that you feel right about the care provider you have chosen. I have many women who come to me after months with an obstetrician or another midwife. As time goes on, you will learn more about your needs and about the care provider you have chosen. If you have reason to believe that the care provider who was once right for you, is no longer, then it’s time to find someone who will better meet your needs. The first step, before changing, is to talk to your care provider. Perhaps there’s a misunderstanding that can easily be cleared up. Both of you have an interest in maintaining the relationship and I’m not a fan of breaking relationships unnecessarily. So talk to your care provider first. Let them know what’s important to you and why. Ask them to help you achieve whatever it is you’re hoping to achieve. If, after going through this process the two of you can’t see eye to eye, it’s time to find someone else.

Visit my website to learn more about my services.