How To Know If Your Doctor Supports Natural Birth

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Your first responsibility as a new parent begins before the baby is born.  It’s the choice of birth attendant.  It’s best to pick a provider that supports natural birth not one that agrees to it reluctantly.  If you ask avoid a certain procedure “unless necessary,” that procedure will always be “necessary” in that person’s opinion because she doesn't know any other way.  Below are a few questions to ask to see if your provider is supportive of natural birth.

  1. What do you think about the fetal monitor, breaking the bag of waters, and IV fluids in labor?
    If the doctor thinks everyone should have one or all then you can assume she most likely does not support natural birth. 

  2. What would you do if I was 37+ weeks along and my water broke but no contractions followed?
    If the answer is that you must produce your baby within 12 hours, this may not be the doctor for you.  A better answer would be “I’d want you to come in immediately if you start running a temperature.  Nothing should be put into the vagina after your water breaks.  Most likely your labor will start on it’s own within 48 hours.”

  3. As long as everything is normal, the baby and I are both fine, how long will you let my labor go?  How long can I push?
    If there is a time limit, then move onto a different doctor.  The ideal answer would be “as long as there are no problems with you and the a baby, then you can continue as long as you are willing to do so.”  

  4. How do you feel about the use of Pitocin?  What percent of your patients are given Pitocin during labor?
    Find a different doctor if a high percentage of his/her patients need pitocin.  The use of pitocin should be restricted.  Some studies show it’s only needed about 3-5% of the time.  

  5. Is it OK if I nurse the baby immediately as long as there are no problems, and wait until the placenta is out on it’s own?  Is there a time limit for producing the placenta?  Do I have to have the shot of Pitocin?
    Beware of doctors that want to take the baby away immediately, or do not want to wait until the placenta comes out on it’s own – she may tend to rush things in other parts of your labor too, not just third stage (delivery of placenta).  

  6. What if I get to the hospital too early (before 4cm dilated), can I go home?Hospital isn’t the best place to pass early first stage labor, and will increase your changes for interventions.  Look for a birth attendant that will support you in returning home until you’re farther along.  

The type of birth you will have can be greatly influenced by the attendant you choose, so select carefully.  Remember, you can change providers at any time, but it’s always better to do so sooner, rather than when you’re farther along.  

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