Doris Haire, the president of the American Foundation for Maternal and Child Health explains in her article below how all expectant parents can easily take responsibity for the decisions made in their pregnancy, birth and baby’s care:
- Common practice patterns employed in the obstetric care
- Questions to ask your caregiver at your first visit
- The benefits of taking along a support person to prenatal visits
- How to communicate your needs to your caregiver
- How and why to prepare a birthing plan
- Why the hospital consent form is so important to your baby’s birth
- Talking to residents and nurses while you’re in labor
- How and why to get your obstetrical records
A good childbirth experience should be happy and gratifying, as well as safe. You are much more likely to have a good experience if you establish early a good communication with your physician or midwife. Sometimes it is the expectant parents who must take the lead in establishing a rapport, but don’t let that hold you back. It’s your childbirth experience. It’s up to you to let the doctor or midwife know what you want. If he or she is not in agreement with your wishes….
When you go for your first prenatal visit:
- Ask the doctor’s receptionist about the fee for vaginal delivery, and also for caesarean section, in case one should become necessary. Ask if Medicare will fully cover the fee for vaginal delivery or caesarean section and if you have private health insurance, if this will completely cover any gaps.
To make sure that you are on the same wavelength with your doctor or midwife ask, “How do you usually conduct labour and delivery?” Be cautious; remember that style and competence are not always found in the same attendant. Someone who promises to assist you in a home delivery may not have sufficient skill or backup to take care of an emergency.
- Ask other women who have had that doctor or midwife about their experiences. Find out if he or she honoured the mothers’ requests they made during their office visits. Did they find their requests denied once they got into labour/delivery? If so, which requests were denied and why?
- If you have any doubt that the doctor or midwife is the right one for you, you may wish to keep your options open to find someone more compatible. If the doctor or midwife insists that his or her entire fee be paid prior to delivery, you might wish to say that you may be moving out of town and, therefore, you prefer to pay at the end of each visit. This also gives you the freedom to walk out of the office without paying for the visit if you are kept waiting for an hour or more for your consultation.