One of the most important things you can do to increase your odds of having the birth you want is to pick a supportive care provider. Your care provider is the most influential member of your birth team and has the most impact on the outcome. This will be a very important relationship throughout your pregnancy, birth, and early postpartum. Below are my best tips for picking an AMAZING care provider.
1. Ask for recommendations
Ask your friends for recommendations, especially the ones who had the type of birth you want. Ask them why they chose that person. Get online and ask for recommendations. Ask your childbirth educator or doula for recommendations. If you don’t have a childbirth educator or doula, many of them are online and happy to provide recommendations in local pregnancy and birth-related social media groups. Doulas are in a unique position to provide some really honest feedback since they work with care providers in all settings. They have the inside scoop on OBs, midwives, birth centers, and hospitals. They know who the amazing care providers are even if they haven’t personally worked with them. Childbirth educators hear about their students’ births and remember the care providers that were amazing as well as the not-so-amazing ones.
Do some online research for care providers. Look for reviews about the people that were recommended to you. Just remember that the best person for you might not be the first person on the list. Many amazing care providers are not the first to pop up with a Google search. Dig deeper than just the first page of search results. Many hidden gems, and even the perfect care provider for you, might not be on the first page of Google. They might not even have a website. My midwife is an example of a care provider who doesn’t really have a website or online presence but who is an amazing midwife. She has a great reputation in the birth community, and I found her through several friends. In my opinion, personal recommendations carry a bit more weight than Google searches, but if you find someone through an online search AND they come highly recommended through your friends or doula? You’ve got a great start.
3. Start interviewing
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of care providers, it is time to start meeting them. There are plenty of lists of interview questions out there, but your goal is to find out if they have similar ideas about birth as you. Do they support the birth that you want? What do they think about your goals? Can they support you safely? Do they have the necessary equipment and policies in place that are needed to help you have birth you want?
This is the time to really dig deep to find out how they can help you have an amazing birth. Notice how they respond to your questions. Notice how you feel as they are answering. Do you feel safe? Rushed? Embarrassed? Stupid? Educated? Respected? The way you feel around this person is an important factor in making your decision.
As I mentioned in #3, it is important to trust your intuition when selecting your care provider. Does this person feel like the right person for you? My husband and I met several midwives, but I knew even before interviewing any midwives at all which midwife I wanted at my birth. My husband walked out of our interview with her and said, “She’s the one.” We hadn’t even met all of the others yet. We met with them just to confirm our intuition. They were all wonderful, lovely, and competent midwives, but our intuition told us that one particular midwife was “the one.”
Once you have considered your options, it is time to decide. Many factors might come into play, such as cost and insurance, but all things considered, decide on the person who seems like the best choice for you. This person may not be someone your friends chose, but they are the best for you. Keep in mind that just because they felt right at first, if at any point things start to feel wrong, there is always time to change care providers. Trust those feelings. In Birth Boot Camp class 3, we discuss “red flags” to keep in mind as you are interacting with your care provider. This is the class that some students discover a change is in order. I have even had clients change care providers DURING LABOR. As long as you are still pregnant, it isn’t too late to change care providers.
Choosing a care provider is a deeply personal yet highly important part of having the type of birth you want. I hope these tips help you find the perfect care provider for your AMAZING birth.