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Pregnant? Things to Consider When Choosing a Maternity Care Provider

Sooo, you've peed on a stick (or took a blood test) and "taa daa" you're pregnant. CONGRATULATIONS! But now what?

Well, you've got a few decisions to make and the most important one, in my humble opinion, is WHO you'll have on your journey as your maternity care provider. It can be a daunting task I know, so here are a handful of things to consider. Hopefully, I can help make it a little less daunting.

1) Where Do You Want To Have Your Baby?

This is the #1 question to ask and answer because it will determine the type of maternity care provider you should have. The two main options for maternity care are midwives and obstetricians. An obstetrician is primarily who you'll be with if you want to have your baby in a hospital (some hospitals have midwives on staff but that's not the norm). If you want to have your baby at home or at a birth center, then you'll more than likely be working with a midwife. If you expect your pregnancy to be healthy and low-risk, if you don't have preexisting conditions that may cause your pregnancy to be high-risk, and if there aren't any outright contraindications to having a vaginal birth, then community birth (i.e birth at home or at a birth center) are options available to you. On the hand, if your current medical status brings additional, significant risks to your pregnancy, the hospital may be the best place for you and your little one.

2) What's your philosophy about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period?

In assessing your philosophy about pregnancy, birth and postpartum, it's a good idea to ask yourself some heavy questions and really connect with your spirit so truth is centered in your answers.

  • Have you experienced birth (other than your own)? What was it like?

  • What's the first emotion that comes to you when you picture yourself having your baby? Is it peace? fear? worry? excitement?

  • Have you heard other people's birth stories? Were they positive or negative?

  • How did they make you feel?

  • Do you know your own birth story? What was it like for your mother?

  • How do you feel about what you know of your own birth story?

The answers to these questions can help you recognize your birth philosophy and help guide your process in choosing the right maternity care provider for you.

Do you think pregnancy and birth are life threatening emergencies waiting to happen? Do you think they are medical conditions to be treated or managed? Do you believe that surgical birth is automatically better for mother and baby? If so, then your birth philosophy is probably more aligned with the medical model of care and the maternity care provider most aligned with your philosophy may be an obstetrician.

Do you think pregnancy and birth are normal life processes that should unfold as naturally as possible? Do you believe that mothers are, for the most part, able to naturally deliver their babies without high tech interventions? Do you prefer a natural, holistic approach to health and well-being? If so, then your birth philosophy is probably more aligned with the midwives model of care and the maternity care provider most aligned with your philosophy may be a midwife.

3) Do you have adequate support for the type of birth you want?

I'm talking about the folks in your life who are your support team here. Your partner, your family, your friends. Are they supportive of your desire to have your baby in a hospital? When you mention having your baby at home, do any of them have a mild infarction? Are your first thoughts and visions of pregnancy, birth and postpartum met with doubt and negative responses? Believe it or not, having a loved one support your decision goes a long way in setting your mind and spirit right and bringing peace to what is a major decision in this childbearing year. It's also one of the reasons pregnant mothers choose a birth location or maternity care provider they neither want nor feel comfortable with... and they usually end up regretting it!

So, considering these things, you should have a pretty good idea of which maternity care provider you prefer. Yay! You're halfway there! The next step is finding the right one for you!

Stay tuned for our next blog Ten Questions To Ask Your (Potential) Maternity Care Provider!

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