Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Birth Practitioner

An obstetrician:

• How do most mothers in your practice cope with pain in labor?

• At what point in labor can I count on you to be with me?

• What type of pain-relief methods do you recommend and why? What are the
advantages and disadvantages for each of these methods?

• Do you recommend having an episiotomy? Why or why not?

• What percentage of mothers in your practice has had a Cesarean delivery? (A figure over 10 percent is high except in practices specializing in high-risk pregnancies.)

• What percentage have had a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC)? (Look for a response in the 70 percent range.)


A midwife:

• What is your midwifery training, and how many births have you attended?

• What protocols have you established if my baby or I need emergency treatment?

• Do you have obstetrical backup? With whom?

• What circumstances would necessitate my transfer to a hospital (if you’re planning to giving birth at home or in a free-standing birthing center)?

• What is your philosophy and policy regarding pain medication?

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