This post is part of a series on how to find a midwife or obstetrician for your natural birth:
47 Questions I Should Have Asked My Midwife
8 Stats You Should Know about Your Midwife or Obstetrician
#9. Do you have hospital privileges? At what hospitals?
When choosing an obstetrician or midwife, you are simultaneously choosing a hospital. It is important to check into the regulations and protocols of the hospital as they will certainly influence the outcome of your birth. Some hospitals will be more accommodating of natural birth than others. The c-section rates of hospitals are often available and are a good indicator of the birth culture in that institution For better or worse, most home birth and birth center midwives in our country don’t have hospital privileges. However, if they need to transfer a mother to a hospital, they can stay with her as support. Find out what hospital your midwife would transfer you to if that were necessary.
#10. If you have children, what were your birth experiences like?
You could and should ask this question of either a male or female care provider. I might think twice if someone had elective c-sections. On the other hand, I would give big points to anyone who had actually experienced natural birth for themselves as a supportive partner but especially as a birthing mother. They would be assured to have a clear understanding of the natural birth process.
#11. How many midwives or obstetricians are on the team? Who are your assistants? Will I get to meet all of them? What is their experience? Can I be sure that you will attend my birth?
Many groups of midwives or obstetricians may work on a team, alternating who is on call. This means that depending on when you go into labor, your own care provider may not be there. Being relaxed is vital to making your labor go smoothly, and having a birth attendant present that you are comfortable with will have a big impact. At the very least be sure that you can meet and talk to anyone who may potentially attend your birth.
#12. Do you deliver breech babies naturally? VBACs? Twins?
You may not expect to deal with these issues. Your midwife or ob’s answer, however, is a good indication of how supportive they may be of natural birth if unexpected circumstances arise. It will also tell you the breadth of their experience. Even in the world of natural birth, few birth attendants are comfortable handling breech babies or multiples. If you are preparing for a VBACs
(Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), there’s a great resource for finding one even before you interview a doctor. The VBAC map below lists hospitals across the country and indicates whether they allow or ban VBACs. You can also http://www.cesareanrates.com/check your hospitals caesarean rate here.
#13. How many births do you attend per month?
As I mentioned before, most home birth and birth center midwives stay with a laboring woman for her entire labor and birth. Therefore, they can only attend around 5 births per month. Choosing a midwife that doesn’t take on too many clients can help ensure that she will be the one to attend your birth and won’t need to send her backup person. Birth attendants who work in hospitals may attend multiple laboring women at once and are not present for the entire labor, so their birth count may be higher.
What was the most important question you asked your midwife or obstetrician?