Picking a Pregnancy Caregiver: How to Interview an OB or Midwife

Meeting your doctor or midwife first can help you avoid potential problems later! Image by Kurhan

Meeting your doctor or midwife first can help you avoid potential problems later! Image by Kurhan

Why Interview a Doctor or Midwife While Pregnant?

Many health care providers have different philosophies of birth and care in general. If you’re pregnant, before taking off your clothes and submitting to a physical exam, it’s a good idea for you to make sure the doctor or midwife is someone you can feel comfortable working with on a regular basis. An initial interview can help an expectant mother make that determination before getting too far into the pregnancy!

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor or Midwife?

At a minimum, inquire about hospital or birthing policies, such as cesarean birth, early delivery, use of medication, and how many people are allowed in the delivery room in the case of a birth center or hospital birth. Also be sure you have asked about a back-up situation (who will deliver if your doctor isn’t available when you go into labor) and what the back-up’s philosophy of care is. I know more than one mother who was surprised when her original doctor or midwife couldn’t make it to the birth, and the new doctor or midwife had a totally different agenda than what had been agreed on!

How can I Keep a Positive and Open Relationship With my Doctor or Midwife?

Be honest and upfront right away about your feelings and desires. No one likes to be caught off guard or surprised by the unexpected. For example, if you will not agree to an induction before 42 weeks, but your physician routinely scheduled inductions at 40 weeks, don’t play along – let them know that is something you will not agree to without a clear medical reason. Otherwise you are setting up both you and your doctor to be displeased with the relationship.

Call when needed, to touch base about any changes. Pregnancy is usually a time of great health and well-being for the vast majority of women, but there can be complications that arise. If you are between check-ups but notice something odd going on, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call! Most midwives and doctors would rather be able to tell you “That’s normal and it’s ok” rather than finding out three weeks later at a check-up that you are developing high blood pressure.

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Don’t quibble over the little things – save your “battles” for what really matters to you. Better yet, find a health care provider that is supportive of all your choices and decisions so there is nothing to battle about. The single best way to do that is through your initial interview.

How to Actually Interview Your Doctor or Midwife

Start your relationship with open communication. When you call and schedule your first appointment, tell the receptionist that you want a consultation time and NOT a prenatal exam. That way you have a chance to speak with the doctor or midwife before you are actually their “patient” – which can change the relationship dynamics.

Have your list of questions ready, beginning with what is the most important items for you. When the time is up, you’ll have to let them go and for doctors that initial time might only be ten minutes so be prepared! Start with the questions that are most important to you and work your way down the list from there.

Pregnancy Tip: Develop Open Communication With Your Obstetrician or Midwife

Pregnancy should be a time of excitement, growth, health and well-being. Choosing a provider who fits in with your childbearing philosophies, and having an open and honest relationship with your health care provider will make it more likely you will receive the highest quality of care during your prenatal months. Interviewing a doctor or midwife before you start is one of the best ways to make sure that you will be able to work well with the doctor or midwife you finally choose.

© Copyright 2013 Angela England: Childbirth, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Pregnancy
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