From before conception to after your baby is born, there will be a multitude of things you’re not so clear about. Naturally you’ll want to turn to your care provider for insights on any issues that arise, or to elaborate upon what you’ve learned elsewhere.
When a policy is announced or enforced, a test or procedure suggested, or a treatment initiated without sufficient information — you need to be asking questions. Lots of them.
Before Hiring a Care Provider
Find out their stats on episiotomy, cesarean section, induction rates and policies, VBAC policy, etc. Take a comprehensive childbirth class to learn about all the standard routines that can affect your birth outcome.
Talk with other mothers, doulas, etc about their experiences with this provider and the provider’s team. Social media and review sites are just a click away!
Schedule a full appointment to visit with your prospective provider to interview them in-person. Take the time to ask hard questions and get solid answers. You shouldn’t feel brushed off. Interview multiple providers so you can compare and contrast styles, and think about how each person made you feel.
Levels of Questioning
Don’t limit your quest for answers to the simple “yes / no” format. There are actually a few different layers of questioning, and you’ll find you may get better clarity with open-ended framing.
Take the time to walk with your care provider through these levels to ensure you fully understand the scope and ramifications of the subject.
If they show signs of unwillingness, inconsistency, a dismissive or minimizing attitude, or provide misleading or incomplete answers … take note. You either have a handful of red flags to acknowledge, or a miscommunication problem that needs clearing up stat.
1st Level – Yes or No
Example: “Do you require an IV upon admittance?”
The answer would be, of course, either “yes,” “no,” or “it depends” — all of which tell you something, but likely not enough.
2nd Level – Digging For Elaboration
Example: “When is an IV required?” or “Why is an IV required?” or “What is an IV anyway?”
The answer gives you better context — such as what this is, how this happens, why, when, for whom.
3rd Level – What You Really Want To Know
Example: “What is your opinion on routine IVs?” or “What experience do you have with people who decline them?”
You’re looking to find out their personal approach. How they feel about it individually. What are their biases? Opinions? What would be their plan for this situation? What are the alternatives?
◇ Is this done routinely or is it something you’re recommending for me specifically? Why?
◇ I’ve read about XYZ benefits — can you tell me what you think of them? How significantly will they impact my experience/outcome?
◇ I’ve read about XYZ risks — can you tell me what you think of them? How commonly do you see these in your practice? How are complications addressed?
◇ What kind of information are you looking for? Why is it important to know?
◇ Do you believe this is the best way to get that information?
◇ What do you plan to do with the information?
◇ Are there alternatives? Do you offer them? Why or why not?
◇ Does this have to be done at a certain time? In your experience, what happens if we wait? Why do you think that is?
◇ What can I expect to happen if I do / don’t consent to it?
◇ Do you have evidence and/or research you can share with me about this?
◇ Do you have experience with a circumstance in which someone hasn’t consented to this? What happened?