Questions for my future midwife or OB

I asked all the right questions the first time around. I interviewed several home birth midwives and asked questions like, What is your hospital transfer plan? What position(s) can I give birth in? How long past my due date will I be able to go before you recommend induction? What prenatal testing do you recommend? Under what situations would you transfer my care to an OB?

The midwives gave me all the “right” answers and I was satisfied. I declined to dig deeper and probe the unknowns, ask the hard questions, ask the unanswerable questions. As you will know from reading past posts, the midwives I hired ended up abandoning me carelessly when it was convenient for them. I am not sure I could have asked the questions that would have warned me away from them, but all the same I’ve been considering my questions more carefully as I interview new care providers. Baby #2 is not planned yet and I hope to have a well-established relationship by the time that happens.

Expect updates as I interview providers and post their answers to questions like these:

Because what matters most is not how someone behaves when everything is going well, but how they behave in a crisis: What types of birth situations make you nervous? Scared? How do you respond, and what does your training tell you about how to respond?

Because a health care provider’s approach to disagreement will determine whether and how they seek consent, and whether and how they respect patient autonomy: How would you handle a situation in which you and I disagreed about an aspect of my care?

Because the medical aspects of birth should not trump the spiritual ones: How do you support spiritual birth, regardless of type of birth and outcome?

Because methods for preserving the integrity of the perineum are part of an entire approach to childbirth, as body and mind are not simply connected, but are one and the same: How do you prevent tearing?

Because I think I want a certain type of birth experience: How would you support undisturbed birth?

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About investigatingbirth

My investigations of birth began in 2009 when I was trained as a doula. I helped women consider the evidence on common interventions, and helped them prepare for the physical and emotional challenge of giving birth. After some time it became clear to me that there was another type of challenge that I was unable to adequately prepare them for, the challenge of the maternity system. But it was only after my own traumatic birth in 2013 that I realized how little I had understood. I began to ask questions that few around me - doulas, nurses, midwives, doctors - were comfortable hearing. Questions like: Under what circumstances, and for what reasons, do doctors not practice informed consent? How do hospitals deal with other patient populations vulnerable to abuse? How does loss of professional autonomy, for obstetricians, and professional authority, for midwives, impact the quality of care they are capable of providing - regardless of their training? This blog will collect noteworthy information that attempts to answer these and other questions. Most of what you see here will be aggregated from other sources and analyzed. You will also see original interviews, and the occasional opinion piece or personal story, as I try to piece together a clear picture of the system in which American women give birth.
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