Questions for Your Midwife or Doctor

As you talk with a potential midwife or doctor, here are some things to consider asking.

Credentials and Privileges

  • Is the provider board-certified, and if so by what organization?
  • Where does the provider attend births (what hospitals or other facilities)? 
  • If the provider is a home-birth provider, and what systems are in place for consultation or transfer if that becomes necessary?

Childbirth Practices

  • Does the provider have preferences regarding eating and drinking in labor?
  • How does the provider monitor your progress during labor?
  • How does the provider monitor your baby's well-being during labor?
  • Does the provider offer any complementary therapies?  If so, what are they, and are there any limitations on their use?
  • Does the provider support waterbirth?  If so, are there limitations on who may give birth in the water?
  • Does the provider have any restrictions on positions that you can give birth in?  
  • Does the provider typically take the foot of the bed off for birth, or leave it in place?
  • What medical methods of pain relief does this provider typically use? 
  • If your provider practices in a group, might you see a different provider at birth?  If so, how are differences in philosophy between group members dealt with?

Provider Statistics

  • How much time does the provider schedule for each prenatal appointment?
  • What is the provider's induction rate?  Why are women typically induced?
  • What is the provider's epidural rate?
  • What is the provider's cesarean section rate?
  • What percentage of the provider's patients has an episiotomy?
  • Does the provider practice within a group, and, if so, how large is the practice?
  • If the provider practices within a group, what are the rates of the above interventions for the group?
  • What percentage of the provider's patients give birth without using any medication or epidural for pain?

You can also keep in mind the questions developed by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS).

Hopefully, the answers to the above questions will let you ask these questions of yourself:

  • Did the provider welcome your questions?
  • What does this provider's attitude toward holistic childbirth seem to be?
  • Did the provider appear to trust the birth process?
  • Did you feel patronized or put down by any of the answers?