Which Birth Professional Is Right for You?

Questions for Prospective Doctors and Midwives

Print out this page and bring it along to your interviews with prospective doctors or midwives.

Background and Philosophy

____ How long have you been in practice?

____ When and where did you receive training?

____ What is your general philosophy concerning pregnancy and birth?

____ How many babies do you deliver per week/month/year?

____ Who do you share on-call duties with? What is the rotation schedule?

____ How long have the others been in practice?

____ Will I be seen by every practitioner?

____ Do I have a choice about who I see?

____ What is your definition of a high-risk pregnancy?

____ Do you return calls personally, or ask a nurse or receptionist to call back?

____ How do you feel about partners being involved at prenatal exams and during labor and birth?

____ What is your policy on induction? How long beyond term, for what reasons and what percentage of women do you induce?

____ What is your cesarean rate? When do you perform cesareans?

____ Do you encourage VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)?

____ What is your episiotomy rate? When do you perform episiotomies?

____ What tests do you require for a woman with my background (age, history of miscarriage, etc.)?

____ Please explain fully each test that will be performed.

The Birth Experience

____ Do you do home births?

____ Where do you deliver (name of hospital or birth center)? Why?

____ Do you support the presence of a doula?

____ Do you encourage and respect written birth plans?

____ When a mother arrives in labor, what is the standard procedure?

____ May I labor, give birth, and recover in one room?

____ What is the nurse-to-patient ratio? (According to ACOG, it should be one nurse for two women in early labor, then one-to-one in the pushing stage.)

____ Does the hospital have a policy on the use of electronic fetal monitoring during labor?

____ Do you have a squat bar or birthing chair?

____ Do you do water births?

____ Is there access to a whirlpool/tub for those in labor?

____ What is your policy on epidurals?

____ Can my partner and/or doula be with me at all times, including in the operating room if I have a cesarean?

____ How many other people can I have with me at all times?

____ Will my baby be with me at all times after birth?

____ Can my partner spend the night in my room if he or she wishes after the birth?

____ Is there a lactation consultant on staff? Is she on call 24-7?

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

____ What is the average cost of a vaginal birth? A cesarean birth?

Labor and Delivery

____ At what point in labor do you recommend coming to the birth center?

____ How long will you allow me to labor before starting intervention?

____ How much time will you spend with me when I'm in labor?

____ Do you do vaginal breech births?

____ Will you attempt external version (turning a breech before birth)?

____ Do you require IVs during labor?

____ Do you recommend epidurals?

____ What is your policy on using Pitocin in labor? After birth?

____ How do you handle a long labor? Are there time limits?

____ Do you use vacuum extraction or forceps? Under what conditions?

____ Do you have a set position you would want me to birth my baby in? What laboring positions do you recommend?

____ Is my partner allowed to catch the baby? Cut the cord?

____ Can I breastfeed immediately after birth?

____ Do you encourage women to breastfeed?

____ What is your policy for postnatal care?

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