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Choosing a Doctor & Hospital 

As suggested on the previous page, please talk to other mothers first about their hospital and birthing experiences, and then decide what questions to ask your prospective doctor.  Try to memorize your questions, so that your doctor does not feel as if you are interviewing him, and decide which questions you can ask on other visits.

Here are some questions that you might like to ask if you would like to experience natural childbirth.  Some of these may not be very important to you; just disregard them.

The creator and supporters of this site are advocates of natural childbirth.  Where it is available to us, we'll provide information on c-sections, epidurals, etc.  If you have specific questions, you can also post them on our Message Board.


Questions about the Hospital/Clinic
Is there an LDR (labor/delivery/recovery) room?
If so, how many rooms are available? Is it possible to make a reservation?
Is there a separate birthing center that supports natural childbirth?
Is there a neonatal unit?  If not, where is the nearest one?

Labor
When should I come into the hospital?
If I have not dilated past 4 cm, will I be allowed to return home to labor more comfortably? Or will I be required to stay at the hospital?
May I have my husband (or other support person) with me at all times?
May I labor in whatever position I choose?
May I walk around the labor ward while I am in labor? Or will I be confined to a bed?
Will there be a shower or tub available to me for pain relief during labor?
What type(s) of fetal monitor do you use? Is this optional or mandatory?
If I choose to have pain medication, what drugs are available to me? Will you give me full information on risks and side effects?
May I have food and fluids during labor? May I bring these from home?
Must I have an intravenous drip (I.V.)?
At what point will you find it necessary to artificially rupture the membranes, if they have not already ruptured?
At what point will you find it necessary to boost contractions or induce labor?
If I find it necessary, may I have a second support person (in addition to my husband) to act as an interpreter?

Birth
May I have my husband (or other support person) with me at all times?
Can I begin pushing only when I feel the urge, or will you tell me when to do so?
Will I be strapped into stir-ups during second stage (pushing)? Can I choose not to be strapped in?
Will there be a time limit during the second stage of labor before you decide to intervene?
Do you routinely do episiotomies? If so, may I choose not to have one?
Do you routinely use forceps?
May I touch or see my baby during birth?
May I request that you wait to clamp the cord until after it stops pulsating?
May I request that the baby take his or her first breath unassisted (no suctioning)?
Do you administer oxytocin (or another artificial hormone) in order to expel the placenta?  May I choose to nurse my baby instead, to cause it to expel naturally?
When my baby is taken to the nursery and I am moved to my room, how soon will my baby be brought to me?

Post Natal
Can I have my baby nurse immediately after birth (if you are planning to breastfeed)?
Can I have a “bonding period” with my baby for at least an hour before he/she is sent to the nursery?
Do you administer eye drops after birth? If so, can I request that you wait until after I have held my baby?
Can I have my baby with me at all times? (“rooming in”)
If I cannot have my baby with me 24 hours a day, can I breastfeed on demand, or must I follow the nursery’s schedule?
Does the hospital offer help with breastfeeding?
Can I have my spouse (or other support person) with me in my room at all times?
How long must I remain in the hospital after a normal birth with no complications? Can I request an early discharge?
If I have a baby boy and choose circumcision, may I request an anesthetic for him?  May I be present at the circumcision?

 
Choosing a Doctor & Hospital, Continued





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