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Questions to Ask Your Birth Providers

Here are some suggested questions to encourage dialogue and help you get a sense of your care provider’s approach. These questions are not intended to apply to all birthing persons or all situations. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 or 3 providers and it is never too late to change providers if you are not comfortable with the answers you receive. 

1. Will you be at my birth? At what point in the labor will you join me? Who will be caring for me for me prior to that? 

2. Is there a limit to the number of people who can accompany me during my birth? How do you feel about a labor support professional such as a doula or massage therapist joining me at my birth? 

3. Will I be allowed to eat and drink in labor?

4. If I were interested in having a natural, unmedicated birth, how would you feel about it?

5. What comfort measures do you recommend? 

Freely changing positions and walking around Laboring at home as long as possible?

Water therapy (shower/tub)?

Vocalization and visualization ?

A doula?

Narcotics (Stadol/Demerol) Epidural ?

6. What would you recommend I do if my water breaks before contractions have begun? How long after my water breaks would you recommend induction if my labor doesn’t start on its own? Can I still use a tub/shower? 

7. What are your protocols regarding my due date, i.e. inducing labor at 40 weeks? 41 weeks? 42 weeks? If I am approaching my due date and tests show that my baby and I are doing well, can I wait until labor starts on its own? 

8. Do you believe in active management of the first stage of labor? For example, would progress of less than one cm per hour call for artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) or Pitocin? If everything is fine with me and my baby, will I be able to labor at my own pace and for as long as I need? 

9. If you feel that labor has to be stimulated, what methods do you recommend? Does this change at 41 weeks or 42 weeks? 

• Intercourse before spontaneous rupture of membranes (SROM)

• Nipple stimulation

• Herbs 

• Acupuncture

• Enema

• Castor oil

• Stripping of membranes

• Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) • Pitocin 

10. What is your protocol regarding the following procedures and how often do you perform them? 

• Heparin Lock

• IVs

• Continuous versus intermittent fetal monitoring • Internal fetal monitoring

• Cathetarization

• Ptocin

• Artificial rupturing of the membranes (AROM)

• Epidural

• Assisted vaginal delivery (forceps/ vacuum)

• Episiotomy 

11. What is your cesarean rate? What factors do you believe contribute to that rate? What is your VBAC success rate and how many do you attempt each year? What are your standard protocols for VBAC mothers? 

12. Will I be able to choose the position in which I will push and give birth such as side-lying, all fours, or squatting? 

13. Do you believe in active management of the third stage, delivery of the placenta? If everything is fine with me and my baby, would I be able to birth my placenta at my own pace? 

14. Can my baby remain with me at all times from the moment of birth? Do you support skin-to-skin contact between my baby and I immediately after birth? 

15. How will you and your colleagues support me as I initiate breastfeeding? Can we delay newborn procedures until breastfeeding has been initiated? 

16. (For home birth midwives) How long will you stay with me after my baby is born? 

17. (For home birth midwives) What is your rate of transfer to the hospital? Which hospitals do you transfer to, and do you have admitting privileges there? Who are your consultant obstetricians? Will I be able to meet or interview them? 

It's your birth, you have the right to ask any questions, make changes, and adapt!


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