Throughout your prenatal care, you may hear comments or experience reactions from your care provider that could signal a red flag that she is not providing care that is evidence based or that supports your preferences for birth. If you encounter any of the following red flags, open a dialogue with your care provider to find out more. It may be a misunderstanding. Or it may be an indication to change care providers.
Dismissive, inattentive. If your care provider quickly dismisses concerns you bring up during appointments or acts as if your questions are burdensome, consider how this care provider may attend to your concerns during birth.
Quick appointments. If your appointments last only 5-10 minutes and your care provider doesn’t regularly ask, “What questions do you have?” it may be a sign that your care is not as personalized as you might want it.
Birth plans. If your care provider raises an eyebrow/smirks/reacts negatively about submitting a birth plan, it could be an indication that he is not willing to take your ideas, preferences, and questions into consideration. You have a right to be involved in your care and reviewing your birth plan is part of that process.
Doulas. If your care provider does not allow doulas to be present at birth, or if she says something like, “You can have a doula, but she needs to know her place in the delivery room,” it could signal that your care provider isn’t practicing evidence-based care.
Predictions. If at any time during your pregnancy, your care provider suggests induction or a cesarean based on the estimated size of your baby, you may want to consider a second opinion from a care provider in another practice. Induction or cesarean for a suspected “big baby” is not evidence-based care. Babies’ weight can vary wildly from predictions made based on ultrasounds.
VBAC. If your care provider is unwilling to allow you to have vaginal birth after cesarean, you may want to seek a different practice, as VBAC is now considered a reasonable option for most women. If your care provider says that you can “try” for a VBAC, but has a low success rate, you may be with a care provider who appears to be supportive, but may not be as patient with the process during your birth.
Your gut feeling is also a good indicator of whether or not your care provider is the best for you. Pay attention to how you feel after appointments. If you’re unhappy during prenatal appointments, it won’t get better during your birth. Your choice of care provider can have a big impact on your birth experience and outcome — changing care providers is usually an easy process and can take place at almost any point of your pregnancy.