These questions are from Barbara Harpers book, Gentle Birth Choices. Her new book comes with a DVD of birth info and actual births. It is full of great information and birth stories....
What is your general philosophy concerning pregnancy and birth?
How long have you been practicing?
Do you have any children and how were they born?
What are your guidlines for "normal" and "high risk" pregnancies?
Standards of care may vary and different doctors may view different situations as high risk. Having standards of care help the doctor paint a picture of what possible complications might occur.
What routine tests do your require?
Under what circumstances do you require ultrasounds? Quad or AFP screening, chorionic villi sampling, amniocentesis, and glucos tolerance testing?
How often do you perform a cesarean section and for what reasons?
If my baby turns breech, can I give birth vaginally? What do you do to help the baby turn vertex (back to a head down position)?
Do you encourage women who have had one cesarean to give birth vaginally in subsequent pregnancies?
Doctors who are more likely to perform a vaginal birth after cesarean may be more likely to avoid a c section in the first place.
Do you have specific recommendations concerning weight gain, diet, and exercise?
Do you require or suggest that I take a childbirth class?
Do you return calls personally or ask your nurses to call?
What is your rotation policy? How often are you on call ? Who will actually be at my birth? Do I have a choice? Will the other doctors respect agreements that you make with me?
Does the hospital encourage women to follow a birth plan?
How is routine vaginal birth handled at the hospital?
When do I need to check in at the hospital?
Can I labor, give birth, and stay with my baby in the same room?
Do you routinely require an IV?
Do you routinely require electronic fetal monitoring?
How often does someone perform a vaginal exam to assess progress?
What mechanism is in place so that I can refuse routine interventions such as vaginal exams?
How soon after labor begins will you, the doctor, come to see me?
Will you stay with me during labor?
Can my partner stay with me the entire time?
How does the hospital feel about the use of a Doula?
Can other family members or friends be present for the labor and birth?
Does the hospital have showers/baths in each room?
Can I eat and drink during labor?
Do you encourage women to walk, squat, or be on thier hands and knees during labor?
Can I birth the baby in a position of my choice?
Can I use a warm bath for pain relief during my labor? Under what cirucmstances?
Can I stay in the water to birth my baby?
What kind of pain medication do you routinely use?
What kinds of non-pharmacological pain management techniques do you recommend?
If I want an epidural what are your guidelines?
Do you do episiotomies? Why? In what percentage of births?
Do you ever use a vacuum extractor or forceps? Why ? In what percentage of births?
What is your policy regarding stripping or rupturing membranes (bag of waters)?
How long will you let me labor before starting interventions?
How long will you wait to cut the cord and deliver the placenta?
Can my partner cut the cord?
Is it neccessary to put antibiotics in the baby's eyes right away or can we delay that for a few hours to allow for bonding?
Can I have skin to skin contact with my baby immediately following delivery?
Can I breast feed my baby immeidatley after the birth?
Can I delay weighing and measuring the baby for at least an hour?
Can the baby stay with me, room-in?
Do you routinely recommend circumcision?
How soon after the birth can I leave the hosptial?