Choosing a good care provider and birthing location are two of the most important decisions you will make during your pregnancy. Having a supportive medical provider and a birthing location that follows up to date practices will stack the deck in your favor for a positive birthing experience.
There are many different types of care providers in the Oklahoma City Metro area, but all providers generally fit into two schools of thought. Most providers either follow a medical model of care, or a patient centered model of care.
Medical Model of Care
Patient-Centered Model of Care
It is important to remember not to make assumptions about what you think the provider believes, based on what type of practitioner they are. The patient-centered model of care is sometimes referred to as "midwifery model of care" but there are many OBGYN's who follow this model as well! There are also some midwifes who follow a medical model of care. When choosing a care provider here are some tips to follow:
Now for the questions! Here are some questions that I recommend asking care providers before deciding who you would like to care for your family during such an important time.
1. What is your main goal as my care provider?
The most common answer here is "healthy mom, healthy baby" but does the provider want you to have a good, supported experience?
2. What do you strive for in relationships with your clients?
3. How many people are in your practice? How often do you catch your own clients babies?
4. What does informed consent look like to you?
Informed refusal should be included in their answer
5. In what situation would you want to monitor my baby continuously?
If you are healthy and low risk, intermittent monitoring should be standard.
6. How do you feel about eating and drinking during labor?
Evidence says, if you are healthy and low risk, you should be able to eat and drink freely.
7. What prenatal tests do you recommend and why?
8. What positions do you prefer to catch babies in?
Positions that take into account the mothers comfort would be an appropriate answer here.
9. What would you do if my labor stalls?
"Stalling" is common and normal. An appropriate answer would be to be patient and continue to monitor mother and baby.
10. In what situations would you recommend a cesarean birth? Are you familiar with a "family centered cesarean" and do you provide any of these options during a cesarean? Clear/lowering the drape during birth, having hands free, delayed cord clamping, and skin to skin?
11. How comfortable are you if I go past my "due" date?
Most women go past their due date. The range of normal is from 37 weeks - 42 weeks.
12. In what situation would you recommend inducing labor?
ACOG recommends no elective inductions prior to 39 weeks.
13. In what circumstance would you want to break my waters?
Usually it is safest to leave waters intact as it protects the umbilical cord from being compressed and helps protect baby from infection.
14. How do you feel about using water for pain relief during labor?
ACOG recommends using water to relieve discomfort during labor.
15. What are some things that would risk me out of your care?
16. What are your induction, cesarean, and VBAC rates?
17. What are your feelings about birth plans?
18. How do you feel about doulas?
Watch out for red flags.
Trust your gut when it comes to choosing a care provider. When you ask them questions, how do they make you feel?
If you need any recommendations on a care provider or birthing location, I am happy to discuss this at a free consultation!
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Miranda is a birth and postpartum doula serving the central Oklahoma area.