What does your care provider’s bedside manner in prenatal appointments say about their disposition in the birth room? Well, it can give hints, or it can say nothing at all…
When you meet in pregnancy, you’re clothed, you usually meet one-on-one, you have your head on relatively straight, you’re not in pain (hopefully!), and you’re not working really hard on a momentous task such as laboring. At birth, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Being hands-off in pregnancy doesn’t guarantee they’re hands-off (active observation, cautious of unnecessary intervention) in delivery.
A fabulous care provider shows who they really are and what they really believe in upfront, without coaxing, so there are fewer unwelcome or uncomfortable surprises in the 11th hour. A less-than-fabulous one agrees to something during a prenatal appointment, but plans for something else — often privately without the client’s knowledge. (Raise your hand if you discovered a “forgot to mention, but actualllllly this is how we do things…” circumstance listed on your birth records after the fact [hand up]).
To find out if your provider carries the great bedside manner and reassuring promises into birthing day:
✔ Ask for positive references from past clients
✔ Look up reviews online
✔ Ask local groups for personal experiences with this provider
✔ Get insider tips from nursing staff / birth assistants during birth place tour
✔ Ask for their birth outcome stats and understand what they mean
✔ Find out their view of birth, women, breastfeeding…
✔ Most importantly, what does your intuition say?
Remember: if you’re birthing at a hospital, you’ll be spending labor with the nurses, not your care provider! Your provider may treat you with kindness, compassion and respect during appointments, but what relational skills do your hospital’s nursing staff have?
Also do consider taking a Birth Boot Camp class. You’ll learn how to find the right provider for you, ways to engage in productive discourse with your provider, how different provider types compare, how to recognize red flags, and lots of other helpful goodies.
All that said, if you’re truly connecting with your provider in pregnancy, there’s no reason to expect they’re misrepresenting themselves. As always, your feelings matter most. If you feel safe, trusting, and at ease with your provider for the duration of your prenatal care, you’re likely to feel the same at birth. ♥