How to...Pick A Provider
When it comes to having a baby, you're going to make lots of decisions, not the least of which is who will provide your perinatal care. This one decision has the ability to shape a lot of the overall experience, so it's important that you make it with care.
Whether you choose an OB or a midwife, here are some questions to ask yourself when interviewing potential providers:
1. How do they make you feel?
In an intimate space (like birth, for example), #vibes are everything. What is your gut telling you about this person? Are you comfortable? Uneasy? Note that feeling, and then move on to question two:
2. Do their stated values match yours?
As you express your desires to your provider, do they seem supportive? Are the things they are telling you in line with what you envision for your care and birth experiences? You’re going to want someone on your team who wants for you the things that you want for yourself.
3. Do their actions match their stated values?
It's one thing to say you're going to do something, but it's another to actually do it. Is this provider consistent in both their words and actions? Or do they tell you they will support xyz, and then contradict that statement when the scenario actually arises?
4. Are they easy to talk to?
Pregnancy and birth come with a lot of personal (and what many would call "TMI") experiences that require a lot of specific communication. Can you comfortably carry on these conversations with this provider? Do you feel like you can ask questions of them? Confide in them?
And finally, the most important question to consider when choosing your OB or midwife is this:
5. Are they meeting your needs?
A lot of times we forget that we are responsible for our own care; as a result, we stop evaluating those who are caring for us. This is never more true than in pregnancy and parenthood, when we become so focused on caring for the baby that we may not even stop to think about what we need.
But let's be clear: the perinatal provider you choose is just as responsible for caring for you as they are for caring for your child, and your needs should be being met—throughout your pregnancy, throughout your birth and throughout your postpartum period.
So, is this provider meeting your needs, or not? Are you happy with the care you are receiving? Are there things that could be improved?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, refer to question four: can you have a conversation about your concerns? Will it be met with open ears?
And what if it’s not? These are the things you need to consider as you build your birth team.
When it comes to having a baby, you're going to make lots of decisions. While a lot of things about your pregnancy and birth may be out of your control, the care you receive doesn’t have to be. We hope this guide finds you well, and serves you well.