Often I am asked to give a recommendation for an OB/GYN, midwife, birthing center, hospital, etc. While I am happy to share my opinion in most cases and offer valuable resources for certain issues (such as seeking VBAC friendly providers or high risk/low risk practices), remember that who I may choose as my health care provider may be very different from who you would choose and feel comfortable with.
No matter who makes a recommendation to you, or is covered by your insurance, remember to do your own research! It’s perfectly acceptable to “shop” for a provider, merely call them and schedule an interview appointment. Don’t feel pressured into an exam or tests on your first appointment.
Some things to consider:
You will only give birth a few times in your life. Choose your birth team carefully and wisely. Most people put much more time and effort into researching a car than they do the place they will give birth, or who will be with them at their birth.
Your insurance may not be the best indicator of where you should give birth. Again, how much would you spend as a down payment on a car? There are things in life that cost money — and are worth it. Haggling with your insurance may even be an option.
Do you have special considerations? Are you seeking a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)? Are you needing an excellent surgeon for a medically necessary cesarean section (surgical birth)? Do you prefer a male or female health care provider? Are you comfortable with a practice who has many doctors or a solo provider? Can you meet their backup doctors or midwives who could very well be on call at the time of your labor and birth? Does their view on birth fit your own philosophies and ideas?
It’s also very important to realize it’s never too late to change providers. Emergency rooms cannot turn you away and will provide a doctor on call if it were to come to you choosing to dismiss your provider. This may not be a better case scenario, but it is an option. As you take childbirth classes and educate yourself, you may realize the provider you started with is not a good fit for your wishes. Ultimately, switching to a provider more in line with your desires will do everyone a favor.
No matter who recommends a provider, please do your own research. Ask questions in the community and directly to the provider. Research online with an open mind to reviews. Understand that not everyone will have a good experience with a certain doctor or midwife, hospital or birthing center — is this due to a difference of birth philosophy, payment issues, or even personality or is there a more serious reason someone had a bad experience. I know many doctors who excel in certain areas such as high risk but would not be the best candidate for someone seeking a low or non interventive birth plan.
Your pregnancy and birth experience is special. Treat it as such.
All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Doula Sebeck, Knoxville Doula 2010