Choosing an obstetrician or other care provider for your birth. It’s something that I talk about A LOT. Because it can mean the difference between you having a supported birth where you feel respected and well cared for, and a traumatic birth experience. One of the main factors for trauma experienced during birth is how you are treated by your care providers. So how do you choose an obstetrician, midwife or other care model that is right for you and the birth you are planning?
Decide on the vision you have for your birth.
Really examining how you would like your birth to unfold is the first step. After this, you can find a birth provider who sees birth in the same way that you do. That means that if you would like to have a natural, unmedicated birth, you need a care provider who believes that this is how birth should be too. You can download my guide on 5 questions to ask yourself before you choose a care provider by signing up to my newsletter. This will help you to develop a clear vision.
Sometimes things beyond our control happen in birth, however the care we receive can make a huge difference in our overall experience. Your vision of birth helps you to find a provider who is empathetic and compassionate when things don’t happen like you planned.
Don’t base your choice only on the recommendations of your GP, friends or family.
Often we turn to those we know and trust for recommendations. However when it comes to birth, our idea of a positive experience might be completely different to that of our friend. Or someone might not want to give you a completely honest assessment of their birth as it might be a hard realisation that they did have a traumatic or unpleasant experience – and maybe they just aren’t ready to tackle that just yet. Reach out to doulas or birth workers in your local community and ask for information. If you are local to Perth – you are always welcome to email me and I can point you in the right direction for the birth that you are planning.
Know ALL of your options
Make sure you know and have considered all of the options you have for birthing in your community. Sometimes if you have private health insurance you might be led to believe that you need to choose an obstetrician for your care. However this is only right for you if that is the model of care that works best for you. There are other options whether you have private health insurance or not. You can read my blog here to find out your options if you are birthing in Perth.
Interview your candidates!
Very important for private obstetricians and independent midwives. Remember you are hiring this person to work for you, and not the other way around. You would never hire someone without asking questions relevant to your situation and this is no exception. You might want to ask how they view birth, what their stats are like (induction/caesarean/intervention like ventouse or forceps). If this person claims to support your vision of birth, make sure their statistics support their claim. Someone who believes that birth is a normal physiological function of the body won’t have high intervention, induction or caesarean rates. If you are looking at your local public hospital, you are likely to be seeing a different person each time, however you can look at the hospital birth stats as a whole. Not seeing the same person throughout might also be a huge factor for you in terms of how well supported you feel in this model.
How does your potential candidate make you feel?
When you see this person, do they make you feel supported and respected? Or are you being treated as though they know best? Do you feel like you can’t ask questions or is it a ‘sit down and shut up because I’m the expert here’ situation? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be supported by a person like that. We have an innate knowledge of birth even if we haven’t done it before and we should be respected and treated with empathy and compassion. You should be able to ask questions comfortably, and have them answered with honesty. Would you happily invite this person into an intimate space? Do they make you feel safe and protected? This is essential for birth. As above regarding public hospitals – what is the general feeling from the staff?
Remember that if you have chosen your care provider and don’t feel like you are being supported and respected – it is never too late to change provider. By choosing care providers who care for us and respect us, we send out the message that this is what is needed and wanted in maternity care. And this is how we create long-lasting change.
Join the revolution.