Choosing Your Care Provider

Choosing the Right Obstetrical Care Provider for You

When choosing your obstetrical care provider, it's important to ask specific questions so that you understand their philosophy of care and can find out if they can and will actively facilitate a natural birth and avoid unnecessary medical interventions or perform a "Necessary Unnecessary" Cesarean Section. Choosing your care provider carefully is especially important if you want to utilize natural birthing techniques. The following pages outline the tough questions you should ask before choosing an obstetrical care provider and provides evidence-based answers to help support your reasoning when communicating with your care provider.

With this guide, you'll be able to determine if any obstetrical care provider will:

  • actively enable a natural birth
  • return a birth that is deviating to abnormal back to normal
  • be more likely to do an unnecessary cesarean section.

Click here to download a PDF version of this guide to choosing the right care provider for you.


Are you there for the duration of my active labor or do you come only at the end to deliver my baby?


What is your primary cesarean section (C/S) rate?


How will the baby and I be monitored during active labor (6-10 cm)?


How long post-term will you allow me to go?


Will you induce my labor prior to 42 weeks if the estimated fetal weight is "large"?


What dilation do you consider to be "active labor"?


Can I eat lightly or drink during labor?


Can I shower or use a tub during active labor?


Will I be able to ambulate freely during labor or will I be confined to the bed?


Will I be expected and coached to start pushing as soon as I am fully dilated, even if I have no urge to push yet?


Will I be able to birth in any position, including squatting, leaning forward, on hands and knees, or off the bed while standing?


How do you keep women from perineal tearing during birth?


What is your episiotomy rate?


Do you require an IV during labor? Saline Lock?


After the baby's head and shoulders are out, will you invite me to reach down and bring my baby out and onto my chest myself?


Do you do immediate or delayed cord clamping after the pulsation in the cord ceases?


Will the nursing staff respect my desire to have uninterrupted skin to skin contact with my child on my chest after birth( assuming there is no need for resuscitation) for one hour before the baby is taken to the warmer or nursery?


Generally referenced source:
Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide - World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research whqlibdoc.who.int/…/WHO_FRH_MSM_96.24 1996