Questions for Your Care Provider

As a way to encourage dialogue between you and your care provider(s), here is a list of possible questions to ask him/her/them. The answers to these questions will help you to know how your labor and birth may be managed, what to expect, what your options are, and that the care team is aligned with your priorities and desires. Not all questions may pertain to you. Your birth location and model of care [midwifery vs. obstetric], breast/chestfeeding plans, medication plans, risk factors, etc. may dictate the direction of the dialogue. 

1. What is your on-call schedule? If you share/rotate on-call time with a team, can I meet them as well? 

2. Do you practice evidence-based birthing practices?

3. How long beyond my estimated due date would you recommend medical induction? 

4. If my water breaks(membranes rupture) before contractions/surges begin (at term), what is your policy on waiting vs. coming in immediately? 

5. If my water is broken, how long can I labor without augmentation? With augmentation? 

6. If everything is “normal”, can I have intermittent fetal monitoring? Is wireless monitoring available? If so, are they waterproof?  If waterproof, can I use in the shower?

7. What is your policy on eating and drinking during labor? 

8. What is your policy on routine IV fluids during labor? 

9. What comfort techniques do you encourage? Freedom of movement/walking, birth ball, shower/tub, doula support, IV medication, epidural, nitrous oxide, hypnobirthing/meditation, massage? 

10.  Do you have nitrous oxide for pain management?  What’s the procedure if I do request this?

11. If I am interested in epidural medication, when do you recommend I receive it? Is it ever too early or too late? 

12. If I am interested in pushing (different than laboring) on all fours, squatting, or side- lying will you support that? 

13. If I am interested in following my body’s own urges to push (as opposed to “directed pushing”), will you support that? 

14. Is there a time limit to the Second Stage (pushing phase), provided baby and I are ok? 

15. Do you routinely give Pitocin after the baby is born? Can I receive the IM (intermuscular) Pit?  Can I decline pitocin after baby is born?

16. What is your policy on delayed cord clamping? What is the hospital’s timeframe for “delayed”?

17. Do you actively manage the birthing of the placenta or allow it to be birthed on its own?

18. If I need a cesarean birth, how is that handled? Can my partner AND doula be present in the operating room? Can I have skin to skin and breast/chestfeed in the OR? If not, can my partner have skin to skin? (Google “Gentle Cesarean” for other elements that you might be interested in should you need surgery for the birth of your baby) 

19. What is your policy on immediate skin to skin contact and can I delay routine newborn procedures for at least the first hour after birth or until initial breast/chestfeeding is established? 

20. Can I keep my baby with me at all times (“room in”)? Is newborn assessment/admission mandatory in the nursery, or can this be done in the room in my presence? 

21. Can my partner/loved one stay with me overnight? 

22. What is the discharge policy after baby is born?

23. Are there multiple lactation consultants available on the premises? 

It is helpful to know the stats for your location (hospital stats are made public), your care provider, as well as those of the practice if that applies. Each may be different. For example, a hospital with a very high cesarean rate may have individual care providers with very low rates, and vice versa. There may be variation within a group practice, so it’s hard to rely on one factor for a clear picture of what you might expect in your care. 

A. Cesarean rate for your hospital:   __________

B. Epidural rate for your hospital: __________

C. Cesarean rate for your care provider:  __________  

D. Epidural rate for your care provider __________

E. Induction rate for your care provider:  __________                  

F. Episiotomy rate for your care provider: __________

G. Cesarean rate for the practice (if applicable): __________

24. Is this practice primarily high risk? Low risk? If interested in physiological (unmedicated) birth, how often does this happen in the practice/with your cre provider? 

25. Is the hospital (where you have privileges) considered mother/birthing body and baby friendly?

26. If in the care of a home birth midwife, what is the transfer rate? Where will I transfer? Can my midwife stay with me (particularly if there is a doula and partner also as support)? 

Contact Us

Please let us know how we can support you along this journey.  If any of these questions were helpful, we’d love to hear from you!

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