by Dr. Alexandra Garcia, DACM, LAc

“I’m Pregnant! … Now what?!” Choosing a Care Provider

Even when you’ve meticulously planned your journey to pregnancy, arriving at your destination can catch you by surprise. Join me as I go through some key milestones and offer my advice on choosing a great care provider, building a dream team to support you, as well as how to nurture your body throughout your pregnancy.

 Choosing a care provider

When choosing a provider, it’s helpful to take a little time to imagine what type of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum you envision for yourself.  Some questions to ask yourself are:

Where do you feel safest in challenging times?

Do monitors, lab reports, and teams of medical professionals give you reassurance and confidence? Then hospital based provider may be best. If the comforts of home are the salve to any hard situations, then you might consider a home birth. And if you’re somewhere in between, you could consider looking into a birthing center.

Do you prefer having all the options to choose from, or is it more reassuring to have someone else call the shots?

Some of us find options empowering, while for others they can just be another source of anxiety. Providers that lean towards a more midwifery style of care tend to encourage that the client take on a primary role in the decision making. Other practitioners will take a medicalized approach by assuming the bulk of the decision making responsibility. Both midwives and OBGYN’s can fall anywhere along this spectrum, depending on their personal style.

What type of interventions would you like during pregnancy and labor?

During labor what type of pain management would you like to have – massage, acupuncture, laughing gas, epidural, local anesthetic? Stand alone birthing centers and home birth provide all of these except epidurals. Hospitals will vary in their offerings, but you can count on epidurals as an option. Birthing centers connected to a hospital give the option of planning to labor without an epidural, while maintaining the possibility of changing your mind if absolutely necessary.

Taking time to answer these questions will help you select a provider that matches your goals. You can select providers to interview based on what type of facility they practice in. As you meet with prospective providers you can ask what percentage of their clients have births like the one you are working toward.

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