CHOOSING YOUR OBSTETRICIAN
So, your pregnant YAY! Now it's time to start looking at the Obstetricians in your area, this person is going to be with your right through your pregnancy and labour so you want someone who you are comfortable with, someone who has the same goals as you and understands what type of birth you are after. You should be “interviewing” a few different OBs as essentially, you’re hiring them so you want the best fit for the position.
A lot of women feel they have to go with the first doctor they see but that is not the case at all, you should be asking questions to learn more about them, but what questions? The list of questions to ask varies on you and what information you want to know about them, is their caesarean rate important to you? Or maybe you're more interested in their induction rate?
Below are a few questions I would suggest you be armed with when first meeting your potential Obstetrician and reasons why I feel these are important questions to ask and know. You have a right to know exactly what type of Obstetrician you are going to be dealing with.
1. What’s your stance on induction and when do you think it should be used?
Asking this question will help you make sure your Obstetrician has the same feeling about induction as you do. If you want to try your best for a physiological and you have an Obstetrician who likes inducing ladies early, they probably won’t be the right fit for you.
2. What is your caesarean rate and what are the main reasons you use caesarean?
This will give you an indicator of if this Obstetrician is using caesareans more than may be necessary, this will also let you know what the chances are of this Obstetrician wanting to have you also have a caesarean. The current rate for caesarean within Australia is 36% but WHO recommended that, and individual Obstetrician rate should not be higher than 15%.
3. Will you/do you follow my birth plan?
Through this question and depending on how they answer you will get a feel if they respect your choices in labour or if they will continually try to overrule you for their own convenience.
4. Do you support VBAC?
If you are wanting a VBAC this is a very important question so you know if you will be supported in this decision. Personally, having a VBAC my Obstetrician agreed to not talk about repeat caesarean until I was over 40 weeks, and I would recommend all clients find an Obstetrician like this to have on their team.
5. Continual fatal monitoring, what’s your stance?
If you plan on moving and being active in labour you need to know if the doctor will support you with this and not expect you to lay on a bed the whole time you are labouring and birthing.
6. How do you feel about water births?
Many people find showers and baths to be helpful for pain during labour and birth, if you plan on using these tools you need to have an Obstetrician who is onboard.
7. What is your thought on pain relief during labour and birth?
If you are wanting a physiological labour you do not want an OB who is pushing an epidural the whole time and the other way around as well if you are planning to get an epidural as soon as possible you don’t want a Dr who keeps telling you “you don’t need it, you are fine”
8. Are you planning holidays over the next year?
The last thing you want is to go right through your pregnancy with one Obstetrician only to find out they are on holiday when you are due and won’t be attending your labour but another Doctor you haven’t met or don’t feel comfortable will be there instead.
9. Episiotomy, how often do you use them and what are your reasons using them?
If you are wanting to avoid an episiotomy and would rather tear naturally if it happens you need to know your Obstetrician doesn’t think that every woman should have an episiotomy.
10. What is your opinion on Doulas?
No matter if you want a doula or not, it’s a great question to see how much the Doctor supports you to have a normal birth. Years of studies from around the world have repeatedly shown that the support of a doula helps to reduce the incidence of intervention (c-section, forceps, vacuum, pain relief and more) and helps to shorten labour while having no adverse effects.