Q is for Questions
Questioning your care provider can be intimidating, let alone interviewing several to decide who will fit your needs best! I'm going to give you the run down on how to focus on the important questions, get the answers you need, and make the best decision possible. First, I want to mention that when you ask these questions, your care provider should be excited to answer them and engage you fully.
Yes, they are busy. But anyone that you want to work with should take the time to answer your questions. You might be thinking, there's no way that someone asks all of these questions. But I've personally had interviews with clients where they ask question after question at a fast pace, and they want answers! It's okay to ask questions, it's okay to be persistent, and it's absolutely okay to defend your rights to have the birth you want.
When you look over this list, you can take away the ones you don't need, leave the rest, or even come up with your own ideas! Make sure to ask those special questions that pertain to you, like cesarean rates, fetal monitoring, induction options, etc. Don't shy away from those tough questions. If you feel nervous, it's a good idea to have a partner or support person tag along. Again, any care provider you will want to choose should make you feel at ease, not uncomfortable for asking questions.
With no further ado, here's the ultimate list of questions for your midwife or care provider!
How long have you been practicing?
How many births have you attended? How many babies do you delivery on average yearly?
What are your credentials?
Who do I contact when I have concerns? Specific days/hours support isn't available?
Is your practice involved in the natural birthing community at all? Are there resources for me to connect with other women?
How many care providers are on staff here? Who will be attending my birth?
What is your overall philosophy on pregnancy, delivery, and birth?
What do you feel your role is as a care provider?
Have you ever lost a baby or mother? What happened?
Other Questions for Midwives
Where do you attend deliveries? Birth center? Home? Hospital?
Do you work with specific OBs? Do you have a good rapport with OBs at the hospital?
What is your hospital transfer rate?
How many planned births do you accept per month? If you are not available when I go into labor, who is your back-up?
If I become “high risk” what is the process? When would I have to transfer to an OB?
What “high risk” situations do you have experience with or can handle? Twins? Breech? Advanced maternal age? Pre-eclampsia?
How often will I have appointments scheduled?
What will happen during each appointment?
Can I bring a family member(s) to my appointments?
Are you on punctual with appointment times or is there usually a wait?
Medical Practices & Policies
Do you require an ultrasound and/or vaginal exams?
Do you require the gestational diabetes test? Is there any alternative to the Glucola drink?
Do you test for GBS+? What is the course of treatment if a mom is positive?
Do you recommend vaccines for pregnant women?
What screenings and tests do you recommend? Which ones do you offer in house vs send me somewhere else to get?
What are your views on nutrition and exercise during pregnancy? Do you offer resources?
In the event that I go past my due date, what is your philosophy and what would be the process?
*Voice specific pregnancy concerns — do they empathize, validate your concerns, and offer good solutions or recommendations? Here's some additional questions for VBAC support, Size Friendly providers, or on having a baby with Special Needs.
At what point in labor do you prefer to get involved? When would I call you?
How do you feel about water births?
Can I eat and drink during labor?
Do you do VBACs? What is your success rate like?
What do your patients typically use for pain management during labor? When do you suggest pain medication?
If my baby is breech before delivery, what would you recommend we try? If it does not turn, would you still deliver? Have you had experience with this—both successful turning and breech delivery?
In labor do you routinely perform vaginal checks?
If a labor stalls, what is the process?
If my water breaks, is there a time limit to when I need to deliver by?
What positions can I give birth in?
Can my partner or I catch our baby?
How do you support me during pushing and delivery?
Emergencies and Interventions
In what situation would an episiotomy be performed?
When would you ask me to be restricted to the bed or have fetal monitors on?
What would you consider to be evidence for a cesarean?
Do you have experience with neonatal resuscitation, postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, breech baby or cord prolapse?
What percent of your patients end up with an epidural? With a cesarean? With a forceps or vacuum extraction delivery?
What does the 1st hour after birth look like? Do you encourage skin-to-skin contact with baby and mom?
Do you practice delayed cord clamping? How about delayed bathing?
How do you feel about Placenta Encapsulation (Lotus Birth, planting my placenta, etc)? What do I need to know if I plan to take my placenta home with me?
Do you encourage moms to breastfeed? Do you know what a proper latch looks like and best positions for newborns? Do you have lactation consultants you recommend?
What postpartum care is offered (herbal/sitz baths, sleep in the bed, meals served, massage, lactation support)?
What newborn care do you provide?
What is the first issue moms usually encounter after having a baby? How do you help support them?
Do you offer newborn testing? Do you require it?
If I deliver at a birth center or hospital, how long would I stay there afterward?
When would I have my first Postpartum visit?
When will I switch over to pediatrician care for my baby?
Can I continue to see you for annual well-woman visits?
Do you have children yourself?
Did you choose a home or hospital provider for your own deliveries?
Why should I choose you to deliver my newborn? What sets you apart?
What is your style or bedside manner?
What was the most successful birthing experience you were involved in?
What's the best part about your job?
I personally love this excerpt from The Birth Hour, questions for yourself after the meeting.
Overall, what general feeling do you have after talking with the midwife? How does your partner feel? A good sign would be connection, feelings of excitement, trust, and calm. Uneasiness, trepidation, or uncertainty are good clues that you should continue looking.
When you are thorough with research and questions, your gut feeling can really carry a lot of weight. Trust your judgement.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your own questions for care providers or let me know about your interview experiences in the comments. Contact me directly for Doula Support, Childbirth Education, and help finding a care provider in Delmarva!