What to Consider When Choosing Your Care Provider and Birth Setting
Pregnancy can be a highly emotional time, full of questions and decision-making you may not have anticipated. One of the most significant decisions you will face is where to give birth and what type of provider you would like to have during your pregnancy and delivery.
No matter where you choose to give birth, Next Generation Prenatal Imaging in Sacramento and Elk Grove, CA, can provide elective ultrasound services along the way. With services ranging from pregnancy confirmation scans to gender determination appointments, we love to provide unique bonding experiences with your baby! (Make sure that any required diagnostic imaging is done by your care provider, as well as a thorough anatomy scan.)
With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider when choosing your care provider and birth setting!
1. Know your options
Before deciding where to give birth and what type of provider you prefer, you’ll need to understand your options. Typically, the top choices for care providers are Certified Nurse Midwives or OBGYN Doctors. Both are highly trained medical professionals and can handle normal pregnancies and deliveries.
OBGYNs are trained surgeons who can perform c-sections and handle other emergencies immediately. Midwives often focus more on natural or low-intervention births and often pass care to another provider in the event of an actual emergency.
When it comes to birth location, hospitals often are run by the OBGYN team, although some have Midwives on staff as well. In contrast, independent birth centers are usually run by Midwives, sometimes with an OBGYN on staff.
2. Consider your risk factors
When it comes to choosing your birth location, risk factors play a crucial role. Independent birth centers and Midwives have specific criteria you must meet for them to accept you into their practice.
Expecting multiples, previous cesarian, or general health issues will all come into play when deciding where to give birth. Make sure, to be honest with your providers and ask as many
questions as you must thoroughly understand your risk factors and what they mean for your birth options.
3. Decide what type of birth you want
It can be helpful when deciding on a birth plan to think about what type of overall experience you would prefer for your birth.
Usually, OBGYNs and hospitals are more focused on mitigating risk and preparing for emergencies while caring for pregnant people. This can feel comforting to some expectant parents, while others may prefer a more hands-off approach to labor and birth.
Independent birth centers are often set up to feel homier, comforting, and calm...with options such as water birth offered in many of them. This type of atmosphere is often preferred by parents who want the labor’s natural progress to be trusted and their desires to be respected throughout the birth process.
4. Think about pain management
If you have specific desires for main management options during your labor, you will want to choose a birth location that can provide the type of options you want.
Hospital-based midwives and OBGYNs can offer a full range of medical pain management, including epidurals. Independent Midwives and birth centers often provide alternative pain management techniques such as water birth or massage therapy but usually do not offer epidurals.
5. Emergency plans
While the majority of births occur with few issues, having a backup emergency plan in place can provide peace of mind as you prepare for your labor. Suppose rapid access to emergency treatment is high on your list of priorities. In that case, you will want to discuss that with your care team and determine if you are comfortable with the emergency treatment options available at the location.
6. Assess your comfort with the practice
If you have concerns or requests that are important to you, make sure to bring them up early! If your provider seems dismissive of your concerns or otherwise makes you feel uncomfortable, consider shopping around for another location or provider.
Some good questions to ask a potential provider are, “What is your cesarean rate? Do you have a high emergency transfer rate (if talking to a birth center)? What are your policies regarding the immediate postpartum bonding time?” Whatever is important to you, make sure to ask about it!
7. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple providers
If you have asked some questions and discovered that you are not comfortable with the provider or location you had initially chosen, don’t be afraid to “shop around” for other options. Sometimes, it can feel like you don’t have the time to make a different choice, but feeling comfortable with your decision is incredibly important when it comes to having a smooth labor and delivery experience.
8. Hire a doula
Unlike midwives, Doulas are not considered medical professionals. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a valuable addition to your birth team! Birth doulas provide emotional, informational, and physical support to a birthing person and their partner throughout pregnancy and birth.
Having a supportive doula in the room during labor has proven to drastically lower the rates of unnecessary birth interventions and reduce birth trauma for the mother. No matter where you choose to give birth, hiring a doula you can trust is worth considering!
9. Remember it’s your choice
Although you will likely receive input from loved ones and should absolutely take medical advice into account when choosing your birth location and provider...at the end of the day, you get to decide where you will feel the most comfortable. Take your time, and consider your options carefully. It will be worth it!
10. Stay flexible
Finally, try to remain flexible. Even the best-laid plans can derail impatient babies, unexpected complications, or temporary labor. Making a plan is helpful...and so is being able to let the project go when you need to. It’s also good preparation for parenting!
Wherever you are in your pregnancy journey, we hope you have been able to find this information helpful! For our local parents-to-be, we would love the chance to congratulate you in person and provide you with quality keepsake ultrasound images of your baby. Contact us today for more information or to book an appointment.
Congratulations, and remember...you are doing a great job!
Midwife vs. OB-GYN HealthPartners
Birth Center vs. Hospital HealthPartners
What is a Doula DONA