How to Find the Care Provider and Hospital That’s Right For You

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… Long story short: don’t make the same mistake I made.

Don’t meet with the third doctor at your practice when you’re 30 weeks pregnant and decide your philosophies don’t align at all, and that there is no way you can even risk having him deliver your baby. But above all, don’t decide when you’re 32 weeks pregnant to switch practices and hospitals. Don’t make these ridiculously important decisions when you’re weeks away from showtime. 

Trust me, just don’t.

If there’s anything I can tell you from my experience it’s that you have every right to ask questions, even interview doctors to make sure you are compatible. There are tons of care providers in Westchester, so many that you really shouldn’t feel “stuck” with someone who doesn’t respect your birth philosophy, and, if you have one, your birth plan.

On the day you deliver your baby, you should feel safe, respected, and above all, calm.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-11-14-pmDuring my 2nd trimester, I read a book that changed my life. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth made me gain confidence and trust in my body’s ability to birth naturally. With thirty-plus years of experience as a midwife, Gaskin shares a ton of positive birth stories and encouragements for expecting mothers, but also shares insight on how women can educate themselves in preparation for childbirth.

Her list of “interview” questions for care providers was a huge eye opener for me, considering that I had no idea these were even things to keep in mind. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead yet!

A few of her questions were:

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The key, Gaskin explains, is to really listen to how specific each doctor gets with his answers, and how comfortable he or she seems to be. It’s not about what he says, but how he says it. Is he giving you examples? Does he or she seem familiar with these examples? Is he resistant? Defensive? Watch out for any red flags. If it suddenly dawns on you that this particular doctor doesn’t seem to be the right fit, consider it a blessing in disguise: you’re lucky you realized it early on (unlike me!) and have time to find a new provider who will be.

Now, regarding Westchester hospitals, I was stunned to find some pretty frightening statistics regarding interventions (http://www.citizen.org), and yes, at first, I panicked.

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Considering that I really wanted to try for a natural birth, I was shocked to find out that the hospital I was already registered at had a 45% cesarean rate. How was that even possible? This (on top of my horrifying doctor visit that same week) was enough to make me start Googling new providers, even if that meant a serious headache and stress I so did not need this far along in my pregnancy.

But again, discovering these statistics on the internet was another blessing in disguise: I joined a practice and delivered at a hospital that completely aligned with my beliefs. These were the two best decisions I made in terms of my pregnancy. I chose to be informed about something that concerned me and my body and I took charge, doing what I judged was best for me and my baby. 

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My advice to you Mamas out there is. . .

Don’t let anyone, even the most highly reputable doctor, convince you that you don’t have a say in your birth. At the end of the day, you know what is best for you and your family and have every right to choose carefully. If you decide to go for the ride, even with the high probability of an unnecessary intervention, then that’s fine! Every mom has a different outlook on childbirth. But no mom deserves to be caught off guard by a doctor’s rash decisions and suffer from a delivery gone horribly wrong.

I encourage you all to be as educated as you can be on the options available to you in Westchester (there are many!) and to remember that, at the end of the day, doctors are there to assist you as you do the most natural, normal thing in the world, not “fix” or heal you, like many of them are taught to do. You are not sick — quite the opposite! Find a care provider who understands your needs, no matter what they are, and will do everything he or she can to respect them. That’s all that matters.

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