Choosing the Right Caregiver

>> 6.24.2012

We left off with a fantastic selection of med-free birth stories that took place in hospitals. I have a few more to add to the collection, but need to continue on with the rest of the series.

If you're just joining us, we've been discussing Zero-Intervention Birth in the Hospital Setting. And, of course, the very first step in all of this is examining personal goals. Today is all about choosing the right caregiver.

I write caregiver because, and as most of you know, there are a variety of ways to approach prenatal care in those long nine months and beyond. I think many of you might expect me to go through and define the differences between choosing an obstetrician or midwife, etc. Really, that's been done a million times over and -- if you're interested -- you can check out all the info here.

For me, choosing the right caregiver wasn't some involved, lengthy process. I talked to some of my mom-friends. I did some research online about difference practices. I examined the type of care I wanted to get. How did I know what I wanted? Basically, I only had a vague idea at first.

Once I had time to think about it -- consider my goals -- I made a list:

  • I wanted a caregiver who would explain what was happening to my body and my baby, not just if everything was OK from week to week.
  • I wanted my care to be a dialogue. To not be told what to do, but to, instead, participate actively in my care.
  • I wanted someone who was OK with exercise during pregnancy, specifically running.
  • I wanted a caregiver who was all for natural, med-free birth, breastfeeding, etc. -- but who also assessed the situation at hand versus any ideal scenarios outlined.
  • I wanted the practice or office to be located near my home for convenience (and in case of emergency).
Long story short, there aren't 1,000,000 options in my area. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I ended up choosing a midwife in a OB/GYN practice after being referred by a friend. Bonus: The office is located in the hospital where I wanted to deliver. My midwife was not overly natural and not overly medical. I knew immediately upon meeting her that she would be the right fit. She took a lot of time to answer my questions, was extremely knowledgeable about natural birth and alternative pain management, etc., and didn't seem pushy.

I really didn't want someone to tell me either way how to do things. A sense of adaptability was key for me in feeling good about my choice.

I also had the option to switch to an OB if my pregnancy became complicated. In the event of something out-of-the-norm happening during my birth, an OB was on call. It helped put my mind at ease. So many births are non-eventful. But as I learned during my experience, things can turn frightening, fast.

As with everything else during pregnancy (and, as I'm finding out now, parenting), it's all about personal choice. Only you can know if it feels like a good fit, and you need to listen to your instincts. Mine somehow kicked into high gear when I found out I was pregnant.

Another note: It's all about the PERSON and not his or her title. If you find a caregiver OB, midwife, or WHATEVER, who is on the same page as you are -- that's more important than anything else. You need someone who will support your individual needs and desires. Ask friends, search online, visit offices . . . and then switch if you aren't happy. It's better to start on the right foot, so that first appointment is really important.

I could go on about this topic for days. But I thought I'd ask you moms out there: How did you choose your caregiver? Good experiences? Bad experiences? Please share!

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