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QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A PREGNANCY CARE PROVIDER

Your choice of primary care provider (doctor, obstetrician, midwife) will shape your birth experience. Each maternity care provider in the Palm Beach area has its own beliefs and philosophy about birth, as well as their own protocols for care.

It’s important to establish your birth philosophy (What are your beliefs and preferences for childbirth?) and choose a doctor or midwife who will support you in pursuing the outcome you desire.⁠

Do you view pregnancy and birth as:

· A medical condition that requires constant monitoring and management?

· A physical condition with many potential adverse outcomes requiring preventative action?

· Or, a natural process that should be allowed to occur on its own with occasional assistance should something extraordinary occur?

Do not be afraid to interview multiple primary care providers.

Many expectant parents choose their doctor or midwife based on recommendations from friends and family, but that may not be the ideal way to decide if a primary care provider is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to interview multiple doctors/midwives before choosing the one that you feel will align with your family’s needs. There are many questions you can ask to help establish whether or not a primary care provider is a good fit.

Where do you envision birthing?

At a hospital?

At home?

Ask: What is your birth philosophy?

Choosing a primary care provider who has the same beliefs about pregnancy and birth as you do will set the foundation for a positive birth experience.

Ask: How much choice will I have when decisions need to be made about my maternity care or during birth?

Positive birth experiences are about feeling in control and having choices. For some, choosing a primary care provider they trust means the decision-making ends there. You trust your doctor or midwife to tell you what is best. Others prefer choices each step of the way. They choose a primary care provider that they can trust to provide options. They combine the available choices with their primary care provider’s advice and other information they gather to make the best choices for themselves. Which one are you?

Ask: What is your __________ rate?

You may want to know how often your primary care provider performs episiotomies, and under what circumstance. What is their c-section rate? What is the c-section rate at the hospital they work with? When do they recommend a labor induction and how often do they recommend them? How many of their patients give birth with or without medication for pain relief? What percentage of the parents they work with are breastfeeding? For homebirths, what is their hospital transport rate? Will your provider be traveling around your estimated due date? If so, who is their backup? These questions can help you establish whether the primary care provider is prepared to support the birth experience you are hoping for.

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