Among the many other decisions you will make when pregnant, one of the first is choosing a care provider. This is the person you will turn to for advice and answers, the person who may be with you on one of the biggest days of your life, to help you bring your child into the world. It’s a big deal and it can feel overwhelming. Here are some things to keep in mind while you make your decision.
1. Where do you want to give birth?
One of the first and most important aspects of choosing a care provider is figuring out where you want to give birth. This may be something you’ve known your whole life, or something you are thinking about for the first time. In Albuquerque, there are many available options including homebirth midwives, a freestanding birth center and Labor and Delivery hospitals. Not all care providers will attend births at every location, so this can be an important factor in your decision.
If you aren’t sure where you want to give birth, take some time to think it over. Close your eyes and envision your birth, where do you see yourself? Is it at home in a birthing tub, at a hospital with an epidural, or somewhere in between? There is no right answer to this question, just the answer that is best for you. Talk to your partner, a family member or a friend and express your desires, feelings and concerns. You may also want to check and see what your insurance will cover, and take a tour to see what feels good. Many tours are now available virtually.
2. Ask your friends and members of your community
Once you have decided where you want to give birth, or at least if you have a good idea, ask around about others’ experiences. Ask friends or colleagues who have already given birth, or join a local parenting group online (you can even stay anonymous if that is important to you). You don’t have to make the same decision as someone else, but if you hear a lot of good (or bad) things about a specific birthing location or provider, it can be a great help. Ask specific questions. Did the person feel respected and heard by the provider? What were the prenatal appointments like? What was the birth experience like?
3. You can interview providers (and you are allowed to change your mind)
Once you make that first appointment, it can feel like there is no turning back, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you still aren’t sure a provider is the right person for you, make an appointment or ask if you can speak to them on the phone or have a virtual visit. Ask them all the questions that are still on your mind. What is their c-section rate? What kind of pain management options do they offer? Who else do they work with and will you meet those people before you give birth? A truly caring provider will be happy to answer your questions. They don’t need to be your new best friend, but you should feel respected by them and comfortable sharing your concerns. It’s also completely ok (and not uncommon) to change your mind, even after the first trimester.
Pregnancy, birth and parenting come with a mountain of choices to make, and while choosing a care provider can feel overwhelming and maybe even a little scary, taking your time and thinking through what is important to you can make all the difference. Take a breath, you’ve got this!