Once you find out you are pregnant, the next step is to interview OBGYNS / Midwives.
Paulina Splechta is an on-call birth photographer working out of Boca Raton, FL.
You don’t have to skip consultations
to go straight to your first prenatal visit
You can continue to interview OBGYNS and Midwives until you find your correct match
(but this is a little known fact!)
What Happens When You Notice Red Flags?
When I got pregnant with my first baby, I asked my closest friend if she liked her OBGYN, I got his name and office directions and scheduled my first prenatal visit. I didn’t even do the interview step! But come week 40 of my pregnancy, and I still had not gone into labor, I suddenly started becoming aware of several red flags that had been waving during my entire pregnancy right below my nose that I had not even noticed until it was my due date.
Most Women Do Not Know you Can Interview Doctors and Midwives Before Making a Choice
Once you hit your due date, there’s not really any going back. That is not the time to evaluate if you made the right decision going with this provider.
Most women simply do not know that pregnancy and birth, just like every other decision in life, you can make a list of providers (doctors [OBs] and midwives) and go and interview them!
All you do, is call the office, let them know you’re pregnant and would like to schedule a consultation with so and so.
What Matters to You?
Most women realize they have some questions about pregnancy, or symptoms they may be feeling (like nausea, headaches/migraines, bleeding, belly tightening sensations, the list goes on) and they compiled these questions on a sheet of paper, or notes on their iphone and ask during prenatal visits. And I highly encourage that! But before you even get to that point, ask yourself, what are the main criteria that you look for in a provider who is going to be delivering your baby?
Knowing what you’re looking for in a provider can help you make the right decision in which doctor or midwife to hire as your prenatal care provider. But sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes, we have no idea what we are expecting, or hoping for, until much later. Sometimes, as a first time mom, we truly don’t even have any expectations cause we are doing this for the first time, experiencing pregnancy for the first time, every new symptom is really NEW new, so our expectations are set a little low and we are kind of up for anything.
How Important are Compassion and Patience on your list of expectations?
But just because our main focus of pregnancy is healthy mom, healthy baby, does not mean compassion, patience, warmth, have to be taken out of the equation. And because every single doctor and midwife is so different, it’s important to ask good and direct questions to make sure we are choosing the person who we will trust during our entire pregnancy and when we go into labor without a doubt!
So below, I’ve compiled a solid list of questions that not only great for your first prenatal visit, but if you’ve already been under the care of a specific doctor or midwife your whole pregnancy, this is a great time to evaluate what questions you may have, just in case you realize they may not be the right fit for you (which sometimes happens) and it’s so helpful to identify if someone is not the right doctor for you, before you get to 35 weeks of your pregnancy which is the typical cut off time by obstetrics practices to accept transfer of patients from another practice (in case you want to leave your doctors practice to hire a doctor who is more in line with your expectations).
Without further ado…
A list of 11 questions to ask at your first prenatal visit:
1. Who will deliver my baby?
Keep in mind the bigger the practice, the more providers who are on rotation of who is on-call what night, and if you go into spontaneous labor, you may get any of them, so you want to be sure to meet every doctor and midwife in the practice to get a feel for their personalities, characteristics, how you feel around them, and what their philosophy of birth is.
2. Are they open to birth plans? or a birth preferences list?
3. What hospitals do they have privileges at / prefer delivering at and why?
4. How many vaginal checks do they do during pregnancy and during labor? Should I get them, how necessary are they, what are the benefits/downsides and when do I need to have them done?
5. Under what circumstances during pregnancy would you recommend an induction? How can an induction affect the outcome of my birth (vaginal / cesarean) What type of inductions do you do?
6. What is your opinion of labor doulas? What percentage of your patients use a doula? What doulas do you recommend?
7. Under what circumstances during labor would you recommend to administer medications such as cervidil or pitocin?
8. How do you handle past due dates? (Over 40 weeks, over 41 weeks)
9. What is your percentage of your patients get an epidural, What percentage have vaginal births? / percentage of c-sections? Under what circumstances during pregnancy would you recommend a scheduled cesarean?
10. Are you planning any vacations, trips, major surgeries, or other events 3-4 weeks before my due date, or up to 2 weeks after my due date that would interfere with your attendance at the birth?
11. What positions do you feel comfortable delivering in? (on back, squatting (using a squat bar), on all fours (knees and elbows)?
Once you are decided on the practice you will be delivering with, and get into your second and third trimester, you can go here to read a list of questions to ask your doctor in your third trimester, before you give birth: http://www.paulinasplechta.com/blog/2018/7/18/what-to-ask-a-midwife-or-obgyn-when-meeting-