Generally your choice of care provider will be the most important decision that you will make for your pregnancy and birth. And it's one that you should get started on as early as possible.
And if you get started BEFORE you are pregnant, you have a chance to maximise this decision making process and set your journey up for a powerful start.
We know that women are often influenced in their birth choices by their care provider. So if you want a physiological birth and your care provider doesn’t support that birthing option you are likely to end up with interventions you didn’t want.
And they don’t so much choose their care provider as just go with whoever seems nice. I know many women who’ve chosen a care provider because their friend said he was a nice guy or because a particular choice means they can stay in hospital longer after birth or because a friend had a positive outcome with them.
This way of choosing a care provider fails to take into account YOUR birth goals and the fact that you are not your friend / colleague / sister. What your friend considers a great birth could be totally different to you.
I’d like to offer a couple of steps to choosing the right care provider for you.
Write out your birth goal and plan.
This doesn’t need to be pages and pages long but it is a good idea to articulate what you want out of your pregnancy and birth. Do you want a physiological birth? Do you want an early epidural? An elective induction? It’s important to know these types of things when you start looking into care provider options. If you want a planned induction and all the interventions then the local homebirth midwife probably won’t be the best options for you no matter how lovely she is!
So many women choose their care provider and then write out their birth plan AFTER they find out how their care provider manages birth. Do it the other way!
Write out a list of ALL care provider options in your area.
Yes, all of them. Even the ones you “wouldn’t ever choose”. Just because an option doesn’t appear to be suitable to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and once you start really looking into things you may surprised by what you learn.
Chat to people.
Talk to women who have accessed these options. I know, I know…I said that you shouldn’t base your decision on other people’s experiences. The big tip for this:
Chat to others with your birth goal in mind.
Don’t just ask if they liked Dr so and so or if Midwife X was nice. Ask them what their birth goal was and how their care provider helped them achieve it. Ask them how their care provider communicated with them about pregnancy and birth. Ask them how they presented options for care and hospital policies. Take notes and check how the comments measure up alongside your birth goal.
The purpose for getting anecdotal information is to help you shortlist your options. Unless you live in a town where you have very limited options you probably won’t have the time to interview every care provider around. Write out your short list with the pros and cons for each provider on it.
Keeping your birth goal in mind!
Chat to the care providers on your shortlist.
This part is IMPORTANT! So many women choose their care provider without ever so much as chatting to them. I won’t even choose a plumber without chatting to them about how they can help me and how much they will charge! Make appointments with the care providers on your shortlist and put together a list of questions to ask them based on your birth goal. It could even be as simple as taking in your birth goal and asking them how they will help you achieve it. Ask them how many births they have attended that worked out like the one you are planning. Pay attention to the language they use – do they talk a lot about what they will and won’t “let” you do? Do they put themselves at the centre of your birth or do they acknowledge YOU as the most important person in the room? Do you feel safe and cared for and respected?
Don’t be afraid to reassess.
There’s a really common phenomenon out there called “bait and switch”. The care provider tells you they will support you right up until about 36 weeks, at which time they find something “wrong” and start talking about not being able to support your goals. You can read more about it HERE. If you find at some stage that your care provider no longer supports you in the way that you need feel free to switch! I know many women who have switched providers late in the game including one woman who actually switched during labour!, and none of them has ever regretted it.
Remember that your choice in care provider is very personal. Your pregnancy and birthing journey is intimate and transformational and one of the most important and life changing journeys that you will ever take. Choose to surround yourself with people who acknowledge this, make you feel safe and cared for and who support you to achieve the amazing, safe and peaceful birth that you and your baby deserve.
“I deserve the amazing birth I envisage for myself and my baby.”
Much love, Lizzie.
PS: Want some help working through these steps? As well as the other steps required for a powerful VBAC preparation process? Contact me to talk about my VBAC mentoring packages and see if I could be a good fit for your journey.
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