This is arguably THE most important part of your positive pregnancy and birth experience. So, is your care provider right for you?
If you are still unsure what the difference between midwifery or obstetric care is and what care options are available, visit this blog to read all about Midwifery and this blog to read all about Obstetric options. These blogs will be a good starting point for you to think about whether you are receiving care from the right provider.
Why is it important for us to make sure we feel fully comfortable and supported by our care provider? For women to be able to access their primitive brain, that part of our brain that allows us to birth as our bodies are designed to do, it is important that we feel private, safe, secure and unobserved. If you have a care provider (or anyone else in your birth support team for that matter) that makes you feel uncomfortable, judged or insecure in your birthing abilities it will shut off that primitive part of your brain. This means you stop or slow the release of birthing hormones which has a major flow on affect to the progression of your labour. This is a common time that augmentation of labour (using synthetic hormones to ‘speed things up’) is used which also then results in a higher chance of an instrumental delivery (ie. forceps) or cesarean section.
Also, if you are in a state of fear, your body will tense up and you will experience pain which only creates more fear. This fear – tension – pain cycle can be difficult to break, particularly if you are not feeling comfortable with the person you have selected as your care provider.
So, we know it’s an important decision but how do we actually know who is right for us? What should you be thinking about when picking a care provider? What sorts of questions should you be asking?
These prompts are designed to get you thinking:
- What is important to you for your birth? Ie – minimal intervention, water birth, active labour, natural birth, etc. Ask your care provider what their approach is to all these things. Do they support and encourage what is important to you or is it overlooked?
- Do you have any known risks or previous births to consider? For example, if you have previously had a Cesarean section and would like to try for a vaginal delivery for subsequent pregnancies you will need to find a team who is able to support this.
- How do you feel when you first meet with them and at your antenatal appointments? Do you feel like you are being heard and supported? Do you feel like you are being pushed in a direction that doesn’t feel right (even if you’re not sure why it doesn’t feel right). Trust this gut instinct.
- Do you feel comfortable to have open conversations about your preferences or any medical needs that come up along the way? Are you getting information on both benefits and risks to options provided?
- What do the hospital statistics say about methods of delivery? For example – if having a natural birth is really important to you, you may want to choose a care option with lower cesarean / induction rates. Check out the latest stats here.
If you are feeling that you are not being supported in your decisions, if you feel like you need to be a ‘good girl’ and agree to everything your care provider says, then I would encourage you to explore other care options. You are entitled to interview a number of different care providers until you find one that you feel best suits your wants, needs and wishes.
It is never too late to change care providers (you can change at any time throughout your pregnancy). Remember – they work for you, not the other way around.
“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers — strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”
—Barbara Katz Rothman
If you don’t feel comfortable and supported by your care provider, it is going to be difficult to experience a positive birth. It will prevent you from fully relaxing and letting go. You are better off addressing these feelings before you are in labour.