When interviewing a potential care provider for your pregnancy and birth, ask many questions. Here are some to get you started.
Whether you are considering a physician or a midwife, you should ask questions, write down the answers, and compare.
What is your background, training, and experience? Emergency Care experience? Normal uncomplicated and unmedicated birth experience?
How many births have you attended as the primary caregiver since the completion of your training?
Why did you become a doctor/midwife?
Do you encourage family/father participation?
How many people can I have with me when I labor? When I deliver? While I recover?
What are your expectations of me regarding self-care in pregnancy?
Are you on call 24 hours a day?
If I need to talk to you, can I call you directly or do I have to go through a call service?
Do you have a limit on the number of births you attend per month?
What would happen if you had 2 births occur at once? Have you ever missed a birth?
Do you have “off-call” days and if so, who covers for you?
Do you work with a partner or assistants?
Do you provide postpartum visits in the early days after birth? Where? How many? How long do you provide postpartum care?
What equipment do you normally use at births? What medications and equipment do you have for emergencies?
What complications have you seen and handled? How would you handle complications such as hemorrhage, cord around the baby’s neck, baby not breathing spontaneously?
Do you rely on a particular doctor, midwife, or hospital for backup? Can I choose my own back-up physician?
What medical complications require transport to the hospital or another hospital than the one you work out of? Will you be able to continue to attend my birth if should I need to go to another location?
Do you do vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)? If so, what is your outcome ratio?
What is your fee and what services does it include? Which fees are separate (ask about prenatal care, lab work, newborn assessment, breastfeeding support, postpartum care, and birth control counseling)? What about payment plans? (Note: It would also be a good idea to research basic hospital charges such as normal and cesarean birth.)
Will I be required to have a pediatrician for my baby or can you do an initial exam and provide well-baby checks?
Do you accept reimbursements from insurance companies? Which ones?
What other costs might I encounter? (Note: In the case of transport to the hospital, additional physician and hospital fees will ordinarily be extra.)