When choosing a prenatal care provider, first and foremost, you want a clinician (physician or midwife) who is well-qualified, experienced and has a good reputation among the people you trust.
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Here are some additional factors and questions you want to consider:
- Your prenatal and postpartum care will be close to one year in duration and there will be many visits. So think long term.
- It is important that you share the same “philosophy” about the fundamentals of your labor and delivery management, assuming your differences are all within the standards of accepted medical care.
- You do not want to be in conflict with your provider about your management. Remember that your desires and expectations are based on your personal experiences and information you have acquired on your own as well as from close friends and family. It is also important to realize that your tolerance level of risk vs benefit for a particular clinical approach may differ.
- Management options available during labor, will be affected by the clinical setting you choose. This is simply a fact based on logistical issues relating to the facility your provider is affiliated with and is in no way a personal issue.
- Discuss access to emergent intervention, anesthesia (if and when desired) etc.. These are topics that need to be discussed early on, so there are no misunderstandings about management later in your pregnancy.
- Discuss the labor and delivery coverage arrangements within your provider’s group of practitioners so you will be aware of who may be present for your delivery.
- Ask if you will have an opportunity to meet the clinicians who may be covering labor and delivery or the birthing center when you arrive in labor. (Coverage for home deliveries will be addressed directly by your provider).
It is important that you discuss the issues listed above so you are in alignment with your provider and the services provided at the facility where you will deliver.
Be aware of the fact that your provider’s management options (not clinical decisions) will be impacted by the services available where you deliver. What you desire for your childbirth experience may only be offered at a particular health care facility and is something you want to be clear about at your first prenatal visit. (If you are planning a home birth, you will want to discuss access to outside services, if additional medical intervention is necessary.)
What is most important about the information noted above, is that you never feel your expectations were not met as a result of poor communication or lack of information prior to your delivery. This assumes there are not unforeseen circumstances or complications that require urgent changes in your management or “birth plan”.
**** If you have a trusting and fully disclosed relationship with your provider, you are far more likely to have a positive birth experience.
Courtesy of Childbirth U
(The information above is for educational purposes only and is not all-inclusive. During the process of choosing your provider, also remember to thoroughly discuss any concerns about your medical history.)