Choosing Your Care Provider

You are 6 weeks pregnant. The all-day nausea is a constant reminder of the change your body is going through to bring forth your new little life. You’ve moved from shock to excitement as the reality starts to set in.

If you haven’t already seen your doctor to “confirm” the pregnancy (as if those 13 positive pregnancy tests weren’t enough), you will probably see them soon. Most women make their initial appointment around 6-8 weeks.

BOP- Choosing care providers

The first of many questions you’ll have to answer during your pregnancy and one that will set the course of your entire birth experience is deciding: “Who will I choose as my care provider for my pregnancy and birth?” This is often overlooked, but it is an important decision. Here are some common phrases we hear as doulas:

“I’ll just have my OBGYN that I’ve seen since I was 16 deliver my babies! He has great bedside manner.”

“I’ll just let my doctor know my plans for my birth sometime before I have the baby.”

“I’m nervous that one of the doctors in the group practice I go to does routine episiotomies, but I don’t need to change provider because I have a birth plan!”

You have choices.

Although it is okay to choose your care provider based on the above statements, we want you to know that you have choices. This would take learning what type of birth practices are normal for your provider and being intentional about who you choose to be in the room with you when you birth your baby. If you don’t learn what is important to you until the end of your pregnancy, you risk being disappointed because your provider didn’t offer the type of birth experience you were looking for.

When a mother chooses her provider intentionally and purposefully, she can then trust that her provider will give her and her baby the best care, and will take her desires and goals for her birth seriously. It may also be very important to you to choose a provider who will make sure you are well informed should any intervention become necessary.

What if women were empowered with the knowledge to choose the right provider for the type of birth experience they desire?

What if typical “birth plans” could virtually go away, because you chose the RIGHT provider for the type of birth you want, and you were able to fully trust that provider? This could change the way we view childbirth in our culture! With new pregnant women all the time watching The Business of Being Born and deciding they need to “fight” for the type of birth they want, the problem will only persist if women continue choosing, or staying with, care providers that do not deliver the type of birth experience they desire.

Although some situations, like high risk factors or whether or not a provider takes your insurance, may limit some of your choices, many low risk women still do not know that they can choose between:

  • Home birth, birth center, or hospital birth
  • Midwife or Obstetrician
  • A midwife at home, birth center, or hospital

If you decide you want an unmedicated, uninhibited birth in a hospital, you would not choose an OBGYN who is most comfortable with all of her patients staying in bed and continually monitored for the duration of active labor. On the flip side, if the idea of no immediate access to pain medication or the ability to do emergency surgery creates great anxiety for you, then you wouldn’t choose to birth at home or at a free standing birth center. These are just a couple of examples, but there are many different factors to consider when deciding which provider and birth location is best for you.

Getting Started.

So, you’ve decided it’s important for you to really consider this choice but with so many birthing options, where do you start and how do you decide?

To help make this easy, we want to share with you a great road map to help you figure out your values and desires for your birth. Our Choosing Your Care Provider Flowchart asks simple questions that lead you to your ideal birth location and your ideal type of care provider.

*Although this flowchart can be helpful for women all over the US, the options are geared towards women birthing in Nashville.


Download here: Care Provider Flow Chart

Once you’ve decided on the right birthing location and type of provider for you, then you can start interviewing care providers to find the perfect fit. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts that will discuss the type of questions to ask when interviewing potential providers and what to do if you decide you need to switch care providers.

For Nashville readers, below is a list of care providers and contact information to help get you started in the right direction.

Download here: Nashville Care Providers

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