This week in the Preparing for Birth Series we are talking about Choosing a Care Provider. Of course, the most important aspect to choosing who will care for you while you are pregnant, and ultimately, while birthing your baby, is knowing what is important to you. There is obviously a difference between the type of provider you would seek out if you are more medically minded and want a provider who is most knowledgeable in the latest technology than if you are more naturally minded and want the least interventions possible. I’m guessing most of my blog readers fall in the latter category (as do I) but certainly don’t assume that is what everyone wants or needs. So, first, outline for yourself what your priorities are and go from there.
Have a list of questions/concerns and go out there and interview providers. Don’t just assume that the gynecologist you have been seeing for years is the best fit for your prenatal care. I would interview them the same way you plan on interviewing any other potential candidates. I won’t go into a list here because I know you can read those other places (like the link at the beginning of this paragraph) and because really what is important to me is not necessarily an issue for someone else.
For me, I knew from the get-go I wanted a midwife and birth center. I had actually been researching what was available to me in my area years before we were even trying to conceive because I’m weird like that. For my first pregnancy, there were 2 birth centers in the area so my husband and I toured both and interviewed the midwives there. This was a helpful exercise especially for my husband who was, at the time, on the fence on how he felt about an out-of-the-hospital birth. Just talking to the midwives and hearing how intelligent they were and competent on childbirth really helped him feel confident about using a birth center and midwifery care. I asked many questions to get a good feel for their birth philosophy and also just seeing if we clicked. For that first pregnancy, we really liked both birth centers and the midwives (Blessed Births and Carolina Water Birth). The decision came down to what was nearer the hospital in case of an emergency transport.
That pregnancy only lasted 12 weeks as I miscarried. It took a long time for me to process that loss and grieve so we did not try to conceive again until a couple years later. By this point, another birth center was open in my area. Not because of any wrong doing on the part of the midwife at Blessed Births, but because of the reminder to me of my miscarriage, we chose to try another birth center for Marcella’s birth. Since it had been 2 years since we had toured Carolina Water Birth, we toured it again and also toured Labors of Love. I had actually recommended Labors of Love (along with the other 2 centers) to a friend who had used and loved it. When we actually went and toured it, we loved it as well. It is a beautiful birth center and we felt comfortable with the midwife we spoke to there. It was also close to 2 hospitals and so it was the center we chose for Marcella’s birth.
In between these 2 pregnancies, I also searched out a new gynecologist. I was very unhappy with the way my miscarriage was dealt with by the Dr’s at the practice I was using and wanted a gynecologist who was at least sympathetic to my natural leanings. I called the birth centers and asked for recommendations. Without hesitating, they all recommended Dr. Stafford’s Family Practice, Cornerstone Family Medicine. I made an appointment there and never looked back. When going over my history, the miscarriage came up, and I felt I was listened to compassionately and Dr. Stafford even comforted me. I cried during the appointment and my feelings were not dismissed which was a huge difference from my experience at the other practice (with the exception of one awesome Dr. there). (Dr. Stafford also offers obstetrics if you are local and would like a more natural birth experience but prefer a medical doctor and hospital for your birthing time.)
For my third birth, we are once again birthing with Labors of Love and have also chosen to hire a doula for this birth (a pretty last minute decision actually).
So, that’s my experiences with choosing a care provider for my three pregnancies. For more on Choosing a Care Provider, some other lovely bloggers have posted this week:
- Three Cheers for Midwives! Reasons abound as to why midwifery care is a positive experience for many mamas including That Mama Gretchen.
- Sarah of Parenting God’s Children writes about her midwife and how she came to choose her.