Each mother has a different vision of her baby’s birth and different things that she values. Some want a lot of guidance and support from their birth attendees. Others prefer to be left alone to labor spontaneously. The important thing to remember is that the mother is in charge of the birthing process and holds ultimate power over her choices.
While attendings such as OB’s or Midwives have their preferred procedures and hospitals certainly have their policies, these are not laws. A birthing mother can decline or accept any intervention she chooses. Knowing what to expect from your provider before birth can help you clearly understand what that day will look like and if your provider is a good match for you.
Here are some questions to ask for those pursuing a traditional birth in a hospital.
- What is your policy on going past my due date?
- What is your preferred induction method?
- What is your cesarian rate?
- Will you be at my birth if it is spontaneous?
- What is the hospital policy regarding eating and drinking in labor?
- How do you support a laboring mother?
- Is there a tub or birth pool available?
- Can I deliver in the water?
- Will the hospital have a breast pump I can use to augment labor?
- Are there any birthing balls available?
- What types of pain relief will be available?
- How many support people can I bring?
- Do you have wireless monitoring available?
- Do you offer intermittent monitoring?
- Will you place a time limit on natural labor?
- Will you artificially break my water?
- What other forms of induction or intervention will be available to progress labor?
- Do you perform routine episiotomies?
- Do you support laboring in any position and location?
- Do you support me in catching my own baby?
- Do you support delayed cord clamping?
- Do you support immediate skin-to-skin?
- Do you allow for an uninterrupted Golden Hour?
- Will my baby stay in my room at all times?
- Do you have a lactation consultant available?
- Do you encourage breastfeeding?
- Do you offer formula or sugar water to the baby?
- What routine tests and procedures will you offer to the baby?
- Will the baby be offered a bath?
- Will the baby be offered a pacifier?
- Can my partner be in my room at all times?
- Will I have a private room for recovery?
- How many guests can visit at a time?
- What food is available in the maternity ward?
- How soon can I be discharged?
Remember, no matter how these questions are answered, you are the owner of your birth and policy is not law. Envision the birth you want and invite your care team to make that happen with you.