Interview Questions for Future Care Providers
You are more likely to have a more positive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience if you take the time to shop around for your care provider. Most parents choose care providers based on recommendations from their friends - which is typically a great idea. However, it's important to keep in mind that even if there is a care provider that your friend loved, that care provider might not be ideal for your unique circumstances. "We don’t always want the same experiences and preferences for childbirth as someone else, nor appreciate the same personality traits in the people who care for us. In order to achieve the best possible outcome for your birth, it’s important to do your own research." (BellyBelly Australia) When picking your care provider, take time to do the research, ask them questions about their style and perspective, and listen to your gut. You should spend the same amount of time (or more) when researching and shopping around for the care provider for your pregnancy as you would for picking out a car seat or stroller. The choice of a care provider can have more of a lasting impact on your health and well being than a stroller.
A great way for parents to connect is by discussing what matters most to them and preparing a list of questions for interviews with care providers. This practice will also help you and your partner to find a care provider with whom you both connect. You can learn a lot about a potential care provider by how they react and respond to your questions. If a care provider reacts negatively to your interview questions, it can reflect their possible attitude toward questions that could come up during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. Most of the care providers I've interacted with on a personal level have been enthusiastic in answering questions.
Here is a list of possible questions for you to consider and ask during potential care provider interviews. Notice that most of the questions are open ended questions that cannot be answered with a "yes" or "no".
What usually happens at prenatal appointments? How many? When? How long are they?
What type of gestational diabetes testing do you typically use? Is there any alternative to the glucose drink?
Do you recommend ultrasounds? When? How many?
Do you typically do vaginal checks during prenatal appointments? When?
What happens if I go past my due date? How late can I be and still birth under your care (if a midwife)?
Do you have any concerns about big babies being birthed vaginally?
How many women are under the care of one midwife or doctor at a time? How much will you be with me throughout my labor?
Are you comfortable working alongside a doula? Do you have particular doulas you recommend?
Do you have a holiday planned around my due date? (note: you would be surprised at how often this happens, make sure to ask this question!)
How long can I labor without induction?
When would you recommend induction? Do you use natural induction methods first?
How long can I labor without intervention after my water breaks?
Who attends a birth? (Students? Assistants?)
Who else is on your birth team?
What kind of monitoring during labor do you normally have?
What are your intervention rates and philosophies?
What is your C-section rate?
Can I eat or drink during labor?
What positions are available during labor? While pushing?
How do you handle the pushing stage? (do they do coached breathing/believe in purple pushing, etc.)
How long do you allow for delivery of the placenta? When do you cut the cord?
What postpartum care do you provide? When? How many appointments? Where?
Do you encourage moms to breastfeed? How comfortable are you with assisting proper latch and best positions for newborn nursing? Do you have any lactation consultants that you recommend?
What is your birth philosophy? What inspired you to become a midwife/OBGYN?
Who is your back up? When do I get to meet them?
What is your episiotomy rate?
What methods of pain relief do you use or recommend during labor?
Additional questions for midwives:
Which physicians are you affiliated with in case of transfer of care? Do you generally have clients meet with them beforehand?
If I have to transfer to the hospital during labor, will you be able to accompany me to offer support?
What is the most common reason for hospital transfer?
What level perineum tearing, if any, do you suture? Do you transfer to the hospital for any particular levels of tearing?
Another key thing to remember is that no matter where you are along in your pregnancy and labor journey, it is your right to change care providers if you don’t feel comfortable with yours. If that means changing at 20, 30, 38 weeks, or even during labor, that is completely within your rights as a client and customer.