Nine Questions to Ask Your Care Provider

To make your birth a time of exhilaration and achievement without rejecting the advantages a modern hospital you need a solid understanding of the birth process, the support of someone you love and who loves you, and a knowledge of your rights in childbirth plus the determination to stand up for them.

These questions have been adapted from the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative

1. Who can be with us during labor and birth? Mother-friendly birth centers, hospitals, and home birth services will let you decide who you want to have present at the birth.

2. Can you help us find childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, and/or any agency in our community that can help us before and after the baby is born? Mother-friendly places will have a specific plan for your pre- and post-natal care such as a list of phone number of a lactation consultant, pre-natal classes, birth doulas, post-partum doulas, pediatricians, support groups for breastfeeding mothers, etc.

3. How many of your clients give birth without the use of pain medications? How do you feel about working with these women? Caring providers will want you to experience a natural, intervention-free birth and have worked with women with you same need.

4. What is your usual practice on handling pre-labor rupture of membranes? How many days past my EDD (estimated due date) are you comfortable waiting for labor to begin? Make sure your desires are very clear about how long you like to wait before being medically induced. Gestation can usually go up to two weeks after the due date with safe weekly or bi-weekly fetal monitoring.

5. What is the routine procedure once a laboring woman enters your facility? Make sure that this organization is open to accepting what have been proven to be the best methods for a natural labor and delivery, such as allowing a woman to move around and assume different position during labor and delivery, hold the baby and breastfeed immediately following the birth and allowing your baby to room-in with you.

6. How many of your clients have inductions to start labor? You will need
fairly specific numbers! How many clients in the last month have had
inductions; out of how many total who didn’t have planned c-sections ended up with one and what were the reason?

7. How do you help mothers stay comfortable during labor, aside from offering drugs? People who care for you should know how to help the mother cope with labor with alternative comfort measures. Mother-friendly institutions will not try to convince you that drugs are the only alternative to labor management. All drugs affect the baby.

8. As much as we do not want to focus on what can go wrong, it is important to be prepared. What if the baby is born early or has special problems? Mother-friendly places will encourage you, the mother, and your family members to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for the baby as much as possible even if the baby is in an incubator.

9. Does this institution circumcises , vaccines or performs other interventions to the babies as a routine procedure? What are those procedures? Medical research does not show a need to circumcise baby boys. If, however, you are going to circumcise your boy for religious reasons, make sure you know who can do this safely and when it will be done. Vaccinations should be thoroughly discussed with your pediatrician no vaccination is needed at birth.

It’s ok to bring these questions with you to your first visit. Doctors respect people who are informed and know what they want. Empower yourself and be the provider you really are. Share all these with your partner and ask if there is anything important they want to add.

Painless Childbirth is a Scientific Reality *

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Millions of women all over the world experience a natural, drug-free, and painless childbirth. You can too. If you would like to join this growing number, this is what you have to do.  Find out more

*A study conducted by CL Pasero and R Britt (August 1998). Managing Pain During Labor, published in the American Journal of Nursing 98:10-11, reports that indeed a painless childbirth is a reality for as many as 45,000 WOMEN EACH YEAR IN AMERICA. One of the universal laws states: if one person can do it, it can be done by others.