This is one of the most exciting times of your life and it’s important to have a good working relationship with your prenatal care provider. Whether you’re using an obstetrician, family- practice physician or midwife, you should feel comfortable asking questions and discussing the answers so that you will be able to make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Listed below are some questions that may help you with this process.
Are you board-certified? How long have you been in practice? How many babies do you deliver in a year? Are you trained in any subspecialties? Do you have experience with high-risk pregnancies/births?
Where does your provider deliver:
Where do you have hospital privileges? What are my options for giving birth, e.g., natural childbirth, water birth, quiet birth, home birth?
With whom does your provider practice:
If you are unavailable, who will deliver my baby? What percentage of your patients’ babies do you deliver? Will I have a chance to meet the other members of your practice?
If I have questions before my next appointment, can I call you? Who will return my call and when? What kind of symptoms should I be concerned about? What should I do if I have problems after office hours?
Can I drink caffeine? How much? Is a glass of wine or beer occasionally okay? Can I continue my regular exercise routine? Are there any recreational activities or hobbies I should avoid? Are there any beauty/spa treatments that I should avoid, e.g., hair color, massage, hot tub, sauna?
How frequently will I see you and how long will my appointments take? What types of prenatal tests do you routinely order? Do I need totake prenatal vitamins? What kind? Are there medications I should avoid? How much weight should I gain? What kind of diet should I follow? Can I continue to have sex throughout my pregnancy?
Labor and Delivery:
When should I go to the hospital? What is a typical labor and delivery like? What procedures do you routinely order during labor and delivery, e.g., IVs, fetal monitoring, episiotomies? Can family members be present during labor and delivery? Can we take pictures and/or videotape during labor and delivery?
How will you help me manage pain during labor and delivery? At what stage of labor do you administer drugs?
What percentage of women receive cesarean sections in your practice? Under what circumstances would you recommend a cesarean? Do I have to have a cesarean if I had one before?
Do you recommend any books or videos on pregnancy and childbirth?
Do you recommend any particular childbirth method (Lamaze, Bradley, etc.)? Are you willing to follow my birth plan? Are you willing to work with childbirth attendants such as doulas and labor coaches? Do you have any recommendations?
What are your fees? Are you in The Alliance network? Will you submit insurance claims for me? Can I set up a payment plan for fees not covered by my insurance?