Questions to Ask a Doctor/Midwife
Once you’ve decided on the type of caregiver and chosen several good candidates, it is important to ask very detailed questions about their practices. First and foremost, though, ask yourself if you like this person. Are they too chatty? Or not chatty enough for your taste? Do they smile and make eye contact? In other words, what is your gut response to this person? Then ask them:
- If you are not available at the time of my labor and birth, who usually covers for you? If I want to meet that person ahead of time, will you facilitate that?
- Will you help me with nutritional guidelines or refer me to someone you trust who can? What are your views on weight gain during pregnancy?
- How are partners involved in prenatal visits, during labor and at the birth?
- What sorts of prenatal testing do you normally recommend?
- For homebirths and birth centers: what back-up hospital do you use? Under what conditions do you transport a patient to the hospital?
- What labor positions do you recommend to your clients? Do you encourage movement during labor? How much fetal monitoring do you routinely use during labor?
- Approximately how many of your clients have unmedicated births? What is your rate of cesarean sections and under what circumstances do you usually advise them? Your rate of episiotomies? Do you rupture the membranes to speed up labor?
- Under what circumstances are forceps or vacuum extraction (where a suction device on the baby’s head pulls it out of the womb) used? How often?
- How long after birth is the umbilical cord cut?
- How often do you use pitocin or other labor inducing drugs? Under what circumstances?
- What would be your routine for the baby and me directly after birth? Will I hold the baby immediately at birth?
- How do you feel about other children, friends or a doula attending the birth?
- How much postnatal care do you do? If this is a homebirth, how long would you stay in my home after the birth?