The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


More Questions for Clients to Ask Doctors and Midwives

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

Here's my personal "short list" of questions for OBs and Midwives. You can ask these at any time in your pregnancy, but earliest is best:

Hi, I'm ________ and will be having my baby sometime in _______.  I chose to come to you because (give a reason: my friend really liked you when she had her baby / my insurance will pay for you / you are close to my house / you look great in scrubs / you have a great reputation in our town...) I jotted down a few things to go over with you, so that we can become better aquatinted...stop me at any point if this gets too long...we could always finish it next time. To sum up my philosophy in one sentence...I believe that I will have the best chance at a beautiful and empowering birth if I become very well informed, think positively, do not allow fears to take control of me, relax and let go, and trust my instincts.  It is not important to me that we share philosophies as long as you respect mine as I will respect yours.

Now for my questions:

1.  Who's on-call if you aren't there? Will I meet all of these people ASAP and be able to ask them all these same questions? If you are the only person on call, and do not have back-up (or rarely use back-up) what is your induction rate? (Be sure to be sitting down, ha ha)

2.  I promise to always listen to your comments and suggestions and give them much thought and consideration, but can not promise to follow them if something happens to go against my beliefs, instincts or knowledge acquired through both education and experience.  If we "butt heads" on something...for instance, I refuse all in-office pelvic exams, or you want to induce me at 42 weeks, and I wait until 42 weeks, 3 days to go into labor on my own...will our relationship be changed for the worse, or will it simply be a case of agree to disagree / shake hands when it is all over / go out for drinks when the baby turns 1? By the way,   I always take full responsibility for my decisions and actions. If something came up like this, I would be very agreeable to signing an informed consent paper.

3.  What is your favorite book to have pregnant women read?

4.  What is your c-sec rate?  What about your partners?

5.  Just off the top of your head, what would you say is the one most common reason you have had to perform cesareans over the last few years...for example, CPD - breech - epidural crash - posterior babies - placenta previa - etc...

6.  How many episiotomies do you cut?  What about your partners?  Are you willing to support a perineum in an attempt to prevent tearing, then see that a tear is going to occur, and allow it to happen? (barring the RARE case that a baby is in extreme distress and that cut will be lifesaving)

Suppose the doc says "I always cut an episiotomy"

You may then think of asking, "OK, well I don't want to have one and think that they are medically necessary (meaning life saving) less than 5% of the time.... How do you feel about doing my birth differently...perhaps it would be an interesting experience?"

7.  How do you feel about patients that are very well read and well informed? Is it a relief to have someone that knows what is going on, or more of a "too much knowledge can be a bad thing" type of situation?

8.  I PASSIONATELY believe in the "ask me, explain if necessary, discuss, allow time for me to think about it on my own" rule.   I feel it is my right to be included in the decision process in everything from very basic care, to something major like an amniotomy or forceps delivery.

  For instance, I will want to know what if anything was seen in my urine (ketones, leukocytes), what my baseline BP is, what the baby's heartrate was,   how the height of fundus is changing...Since I am a grow-up, it makes me nervous and uneasy to think of myself as "being taken care of" by someone else.  I enjoy being included in the process. With exception of an emergency life threatening situation where time is clearly of the essence / discussion not possible, are you willing to work with me in this way?

9. On the same note, I also believe that everyone involved in the birth of my baby (you, my partner, the nurse, my doula) should stay very positive in their words and gestures.  By "positive" I am referring to statements like "WOW, you are already 4cm," as opposed to "only 4 cm, you have a long way to go."

10.  I have read all about various pain relief methods from visualizations and sitting in a  tub of water, to analgesics and epidurals.  I won't really know what method of pain relief I will use (if any) until I feel what my contractions are like. What I am certain of is that I absolutely DO NOT want any suggestions to accept pain drugs, not now when I am coming to prenatal visits, and not while in labor.  If I go that route, I want it to be something I decided to do completely on my own.

11. For breech babies, do you ever attempt versions or vaginal breech deliveries?

12.  The idea of inducing labor really bothers me.  I know that more inductions are being done now than ever before, and that a large reason for this is maternal impatience.  I just want you to know that I am very patient.

13.  I have read all the pros and cons about IV hydration.  As long as I am well hydrated, I will go without the IV...I thought you should know now, so that it doesn't become an issue during the baby's delivery.

14. Have you delivered any babies in a tub of water, or in non- typical positions like squatting, standing, hands and knees, side lying or supported standing? I have no idea how I will push or deliver, but should my instincts lead me to one of these positions, would you be comfortable "catching"?

The singing doula

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about For Parents - How to Get the Best Care


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