Perhaps the most important decision you will make as your pregnancy progresses is where and with whom to give birth. While you deliver your baby, your provider will likely be the first person to touch your baby. Your relationship with your provider and her/his practice will help to shape how you feel about your pregnancy, your birth, and your ability to give birth.
“A growing body of research shows that among the most important factors influencing a woman’s risk of obstetric interventions, especially cesarean surgery and episiotomy, are where and with whom she gives birth.” from Why Transparency in Maternity Care Matters at Lamaze International.
How to choose a care provider
Remember you are hiring the person who will very likely be the first to touch your baby, and who will be with you during one of the most intimate and vulnerable periods of your life. During your pregnancy, take time to interview and get references from friends about care providers in your area. You can learn more at “Choosing a Caregiver” and “Best Evidence: Caregiver” from Childbirth Connection and get good suggestions for questions to ask a potential care provider here:
- “Tips & Tools: Choosing a Caregiver” from Childbirth Connection
- “Having a Baby? 10 Questions to Ask” from Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
Trusting your care provider and sharing a similar philosophy about pregnancy and birth are important. Feeling safe and comfortable in the environment you choose with the attendants you choose during your labor are key to allowing you to labor effectively. Meet everyone in the practice who might attend your birth, since most practices rotate call and whoever is on call is the provider at the birth. If any member of the practice makes you uncomfortable, discuss this with the provider you trust most, to determine how the practice usually handles such a situation.
Changing Care Providers
You have the option to change care providers at any point in your pregnancy. If you begin to have doubts about any aspect of your care or you feel uncomfortable with your provider, consider interviewing someone else. Even if you don’t ultimately change providers, talking to someone else will give you peace of mind. Pregnancy and birth are strongly influenced by the mother’s emotions. If you feel tense or uneasy, it can definitely affect the progress of your birth.