For mothers-to-be, the idea of childbirth is both thrilling and intimidating. Anything can happen, and as labor and delivery draw nearer, you may find yourself with concerns about the upcoming event. Clear communication with your care team or provider is key to feeling reassured, informed, and prepared for the big day.
To help plan your birth experience, consider the following questions to ask your care provider about labor and delivery. Now is the right time to initiate these critical open conversations with your obstetrician or midwife.
Will my birth plan be considered and honored?
Your written birth plan should outline how you desire the events of your labor and delivery to take place. Remember, a birth plan is not a binding agreement between an expectant mother and a care provider. Providers may follow this list of preferred guidelines. Yet, these decisions mainly depend on the healthcare setting and the staff present at birth.
Ask well beforehand to ensure that your care provider will take your preferences into consideration. Some hospitals are more accommodating to a mother’s wishes, while others are not. A midwifery model of care may extend greater flexibility or honor your non-traditional wishes.
What happens if or when labor is induced?
Labor inductions or interventions can occur for medical reasons. Others may not. Being informed about induction policies and the significance of the Bishop score is highly valuable during the decision-making process. If—or when—a care provider presents induction as a labor and delivery option, make sure to ask about the health and safety of yourself and your baby. Inquire about any medical benefits of inducing or health risks associated with waiting.
What pain management options are available?
Pain management options or recommendations are another of the leading questions to ask your care provider about labor and delivery. Depending on your choice of a care provider—obstetrician or midwife—and your choice of a birth setting hospital, birth center, or home—different relief options may be available to expecting moms. Request information about what medicated and drug-free approaches can help if desired.
What happens if complications were to occur?
Different medical facilities or providers have default policies in place if any health complications arise during the labor and delivery process. Discuss standard procedures with your care provider, and be aware of what would happen if a situation arose that they couldn’t handle themselves. Labor is never a predictable event, but asking about these policies and backup plans can help ease anxiety or worry about uncertainties.
Asking these standard questions and more can help ensure you and your baby receive the best care possible. Pregnancy and childbirth is a personal journey requiring knowledge, support, and advocacy.