Choosing The Right Obstetrician For Natural Childbirth

If you want to have a natural childbirth at a hospital, finding the right obstetrician is crucial since he/she can make or break your natural birth experience.

Why ?

Because obstetricians are not created the same. Most only give a lip service in regards of natural birth. Some even regard that any vaginal birth or non c-section birth are natural childbirth.

However, there are a few who gain reputation as being very supportive on natural childbirth. Your job is to find those few gems.

How To Choose The Right Obstetrician For Natural Birth

Before choosing an ob/gyn, you will have to research, interview and visit several of them.

Here are some of the things you may want to learn :

1. how he/she thinks of natural childbirth in general and whether he/she will be supportive if you choose to have an unmedicated childbirth. Don’t forget to find out the specific details to give you more ideas on what this ob/gyn is like :

– whether he/she allows moms to forgo routine intervention such as IV drips and continuous electronic fetal monitoring system.

– whether he/she routinely performs episiotomy (incission of the perineum to make way for the baby to birth), and if he/she doesn’t do that routinely, ask under what condition he/she performs it.

– what her/his policy is on induction and due date.

– whether he/she allows mom to refuse the water bag being broken to speed up the labor.

– how often he/she performs cesarean section and under what condition it is warranted.

– If you are interested in doing a vaginal birth after previous c-section (VBAC), ask whether he/she allows that.

– whether he/she allows mom to refuse pain medication.

how long a mom can labor and push. A lot of obstetrician gives a time limit on how long a mom can labor and push, so you better ask about it upfront.

– how often he/she performs forceps birth and vacuum extraction birth and under what condition he/she performs it.

2. If the ob/gyn you are interested in practices with a group of other physicians, ask how likely your baby is going to be delivered by his/her colleague. Usually you can decrease the odds of having your ob/gyn’s colleague deliver your baby by choosing either a solo practice ob/gyn or the one who practices with only a small group of doctors. As a matter of precaution, prior to choosing an obstetrician, visit his/her colleague as well and determine whether you would like his/her colleague to deliver your baby should your obgyn is not available. The bottom line is that you cannot risk yourself to be attended by an obstetrician who is not friendly to the idea of unmedicated birth.

3. His/her attitude towards newborn handling in general, for instance: circumcision, breastfeeding, and so forth.

4. His/her attitude towards the presence of a labor coach, be it your husband, your friend, your relative or a hired doula.

5. How accessible your obstetrician is. You should be able to find out how easy he/she can be contacted for both non-urgent and urgent situations and how quick the response is.

In addition, you may want to investigate and observe several things:

1. Observe how the obstetrician conducts him/herself and how he/she explains things to you. Does he/she explain things thoroughly ? Do you feel rushed during appointment ? Can he/she communicate well ? Does he/she look interested in you ? DO you fell comfortable with him/her ? And so forth.

2. Investigate your obstetrician’s hospital admitting privilege thoroughly. Make sure you choose an obstetrician who is affiliated with a hospital which is friendly towards unmedicated birth.

Unhappy With Your Current Obstetrician ?

A lot of time, pregnant moms, especially the first timers, do not give many thought when choosing an obstetrician at the beginning of the pregnancy. As time goes by and after a couple of reading, some moms decide that they want a natural childbirth. Unfortunately, not all obgyn are fully supportive with that idea.

Now, what should you do if you later on are not happy with your ob/gyn ?

Before you find a new obstetrician, you may want to talk to your current obgyn about your concerns. If your concerns are still not addressed then you may want to switch to a more ‘enlightened’ obstetrician.

However, if you find yourself wanting to do a home birth or giving birth at the birth center, then you will have to leave your obstetrician and hire a midwife instead.

Don’t worry if you have to ‘fire’ your obgyn towards the end of you pregnancy since if you are not happy with your current situation, it is better to change that situation rather than risking your precious birth by staying with your current physician.

Don’t worry or afraid to ‘upset’ your current obgyn if you leave him/her.

Be a smart consumer.

Practically, an obstetrician is the one who is in need to do a business with you. If he/she does not give you a good business, then, as a consumer, you are free to choose other caregiver. The bottom line is that you need to find a health care provider you’re comfortable to care for your pregnancy and childbirth and who you trust.

How To Find The Right Ob-gyn

If you need to find an obstetrician who is supportive of natural childbirth , I recommend to ask for a recommendation from these two sources:

1. Childbirth educator whose class emphasizes in natural birth.

2. Other natural-birthers. You can easily find a bunch of moms who are committed in natural birth by joining a local mailing list or local support group for these following organizations: La Leche League, Attachment Parenting International, Homeschooling Group, Organic Coop Group, Natural Family Planning and other natural family living organization. Don’t ask for recommendation from any friend or relatives who are not commited in natural childbirth since their obgyns are very likely not well screened.

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