Questions to Ask Your Doctor About: Choosing a Healthcare Provider

by the Wiser Pregnancy team

questionWhen you pick a specific care provider and make an appointment, ask questions in order of importance in case you run out of time. We've broken it down into easy-to-use categories for you to take away some of the stress! Remember, you are planning for you and your baby's needs! If an interview doesn't work out, keep looking! You don't have to use the first one you see!

Background Questions

• How long have you been in practice?

• How many babies have you delivered?

• How many babies do you deliver per week?

• When and where did you receive your training?

• Are you certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Board of Family Practice, or the American College of Nurse-Midwives?

• Do you have references?

Your Healthcare Provider’s Practice and Philosophy

• What type of practice do you have? (Solo medical practice, partnership or group practice, maternity or birth-center practice, an independent certified nurse-midwife practice)

• For midwives: Do you have a physician backup? If a pregnancy complication develops, will I be transferred to a hospital and unfamiliar doctors?

• If you are in a group practice, will I always see you or will I see another doctor or doctors during my visits? How much choice do I have regarding who I see and who delivers my baby?

• What percentage of your patients’ babies do you deliver yourself?

• Does your practice use residents and interns? Will one or more be present at my delivery?

• What is your general philosophy about pregnancy, childbirth and delivery?

• Will I be allowed to write an individualized birth plan? Will it be respected? Will you review the plan with me before I go into labor?

• What is your policy if I pass my due date? Will you induce my labor, and if so, when?

• Do you attend home births?

• Under what circumstances would you refer me to a specialist?

Logistics and Availability

• Are you in town and on call around my due date? If you cannot deliver my baby, who will most likely be there? If there is a chance you will not be there, can I meet the doctor who may deliver my baby?

• What is the best way to get in touch with you if I have an emergency? Are there hours when you are not available?

• Do you take non-emergency calls during the day? If not, who can I call?

• Where do you usually deliver babies? Do you have privileges at other hospitals or birth clinics?

• What portion of your fees are likely to be covered by my insurance company or HMO?

• How often do you recommend scheduling routine visits? How long does each appointment typically last?

• What tests will you order during my pregnancy? What if I have a concern about any of these tests?

Delivery

• How much time will you spend with me while I’m in labor?

• What percentage of women under your care have medicated vs. non-medicated births?

• What is your opinion of natural births?

• What positions for birth do you encourage or recommend?

• What percentage of your patients are induced?

• What is your Cesarean rate?

• What percentage of women attempting VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) successfully deliver vaginally?

• How often do you perform episiotomies?

• Do you regularly use electronic fetal monitoring during labor?

• Does the hospital allow anyone other than the father to be present at birth?

• Do you provide postpartum care or breastfeeding support?

These questions are based on research published by publicly available and private medical information sources on the topic.

Copyright © Wiser Pregnancy. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.