Choosing the right health care provider has the potential to make or break your pregnancy, labour and postpartum experience. It is important to find a provider that is sensitive to you and your family’s needs; you should feel they are considerate, responsible, professional, yet warm. It is also important they maintain a relationship with other health care professionals so you can receive the appropriate care you require.

Most practitioners will provide an initial consultation; use this time to ask important questions to determine if their care is right for you.

What to ask a Midwife:

·What training and experience do you have?

·Can you handle both complications and emergencies?

·Do you have medical back up or a contingency plan for emergency? What will be your role in an emergency? Will you continue to be with me during an emergency?

·What kind of equipment do you carry with you?

·What is your back up arrangement if you become ill or are otherwise unavailable at any point during my pregnancy or the birth?

·Do you have clear protocols and, if so, are these protocols rigid or flexible? For example, what happens if I go into early labour, or if I go past my due date? What if my baby is breech and so on?

·What are your philosophies about birth?

What to ask an Obstetrician (also relevant for midwives):

·What are your credentials?

·What is your cesarean rate?

·What is your episiotomy rate?

·What is the rate of medicated births in your practice?

·How many women in your practice breastfeed their babies?

·Do you usually order medications, IV, enemas, monitors or do you judge each situation individually?

·Are women encouraged to use different positions during labour and pushing?

·What are your feelings on natural birth?

·How much time do you spend with women at prenatal visits?

·Will you be at my birth or will another physician attend (and if so, who will that be)?

·What are your policies for women who go past-due, for permitted length of labour and pushing (or any other concerns or questions you might have)?

Write down the questions that you are most interested in and bring them to your first appointment. Go with your gut. If you feel off about the midwife or Doctor you met with interview another, you have the right to receive the care you want.

Questions taken from: The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Shelia Kitzinger (1993) & The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm (2003)

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