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Essential Questions for Your Obstetrician or Midwife

Your first meeting with your ob-gyn or certified nurse-midwife is not only an opportunity for you to introduce yourself -- it's your chance to learn more about her too. Asking the right questions can provide you with essential information about your health-care provider's qualifications, philosophies, and birth practices. Print out our checklist and take it along with you during your first visit.

1. How long have you been in practice?

2. Where did you receive training?

3. How many babies do you deliver each week?

4. What is your general philosophy concerning pregnancy and birth?

5. Who is responsible for my case if you're not available?

6. What are your fees, and how are they covered by my health insurance plan (if I have one)?

7. Are you open to my hiring a doula?

8. How do you regard written birthing plans?

9. Do you offer classes on childbirth and parenting?

10. What provisions must be made if I do not have health insurance?

For the Obstetrician

1. How do I get emergency care after office hours?

2. Who will see me for my checkups?

For the Midwife

1. What are the eligibility requirements for your services?

2. Which hospitals or birth centers do you have privileges at?

1. What routine tests do you require?

2. What is your philosophy on pain relief during labor?

3. Who will be with me during labor and birth?

4. Can my family be present during labor and birth?

5. How soon after I start labor will you see me?

6. What is your policy when labor stalls or when dilation is slow? Are there time limits?

7. Do I have a choice of labor positions?

8. How soon after birth can/must I leave the facility?

9. How long after I go home will you see me and my baby?

For the Obstetrician

1. How long beyond term, for what reasons, and in what percentage of women do you induce labor?

2. Do you do episiotomies?

3. How frequently and for what reasons do you perform c-sections?

4. Do you use vacuum extraction or forceps? Under what conditions?

For the Midwife

1. What arrangements do you have if labor complications occur?

2. If the baby needs the immediate care of a pediatrician, how is this handled?

3. Do you do home births?

Sources: American College of Nurse-Midwives; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Childbirth.org

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.