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Questions to Ask Your Obstetrican

It is important to ask questions early in the pregnancy so you can find out if your doctor’s philosophy matches up with your desires for birth. A great way to narrow down your search is to ask experienced doulas and childbirth educators about doctors and hospitals their clients have found to be the most supportive of normal birth. Once you have chosen a doctor, keep in mind that visits are short, and there isn’t time to ask 10 questions. You might want to start with the 3 questions that are most important to you, and at the next visit ask 3-4 more.

Besides educating yourself and staying healthy in pregnancy, choosing the right birth team is crucial in helping you achieve your goals. Studies show that women do remember, years later, the details of their birth experience. However, the length and type of labor was not foremost in their minds. What mattered most to women was how they were treated and whether they felt very much a part of the decision-making process. Choosing the right birth team for you is essential! A great book to help you learn more about your options in labor is: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.

Question to ask —

  1. Will you allow intermittent monitoring during labor? (10-20 min on the monitor and 40-50 minutes off).
  2. If the monitor shows that my baby is fine, will you restrict my movement after my water breaks?
  3. In a healthy pregnancy, how far past the due date will you allow me to go?
  4. For what reasons do you induce? What is your rate of induction?
  5. If my water breaks first, will you give me some time at home to try to get labor started before having to come in to the hospital?
  6. What do you think about episiotomy?
  7. What is your cesarean rate?
  8. Who backs you up in the event you are unable to attend my birth? Will they support my desires for birth in the same manner?
  9. In which hospitals to you have privileges?
  10. Besides my partner and myself, how many others can be in the delivery room? If I need to have a cesarean, how many people in addition to my husband and would be allowed in the OR.
  11. Will you allow me to push in any position I find comfortable?
  12. If my labor is longer than an average labor, will you place any time limitations on me?
  13. Do you have any time limitations during second stage labor?
  14. How do you feel about having a doula in the room?
  15. Will you delay cord clamping for a few minutes?
  16. Do you support VBAC’s? (vaginal births after cesarean)
  17. Would you support one hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time with my baby starting immediately after delivery?
  18. For a mom expecting twins

  19. Will you deliver vaginal twins?
  20. Do you have any additional restrictions in labor or delivery?
  21. If the lower baby is head down, but the top baby is breech, are you experienced in doing an external version to turn the second baby so I can avoid a cesarean? You might consider going to The Medical Board of California’s website (link below) to make sure the physician you are considering has not been disciplined, issued any citations, or had any felony convictions.

Kathy Killebrew, CCE
Certified childbirth and lactation educator for 32 years
4 children and 4 grandchildren (including a set of twins)