Guest blogger: Stephanie Heintzeler is a German educated midwife and US licensed Doula. Find out more about Stephanie at the New York Doula.
Many pregnant women are pretty happy with their obstetrician- until it comes to giving birth. Once it’s getting to the “birth talk” around 36 weeks some obstetricians show a very different side to what the mom-to-be had in mind for her birth experience. Starting from the right time for induction to discussing the position how the mother prefers to give birth – make sure to ask your obstetrician or midwife early on in pregnancy what you would like to know.
Here are 5 important questions to ask:
- What is your c-section rate? What is the hospitals c-section rate? The average c-section rate in the US is 30%; some doctors in NY go up to 47%. Ask your OB/midwife what their number is and why.
- Will you be attending my birth? If not, how many colleagues are in your team and will I meet them during my pregnancy? Most OB’s and midwifes work in teams of 4-6. One of the doctors in the team will be actually at the birth; most likely it won’t be your own OB. However, some work as a solo practitioners. If it’s important to you to have constant support during your birth by someone familiar consider hiring a Birth Doula.
- Am I allowed to eat and drink during labor? Most hospitals don’t allow a mother in labor to eat or drink. However, some OB’s are more relaxed about it.
- What comfort measures besides the epidural (PDA) do you recommend?While the epidural is the standard pain medication many OB’s also recommend other comfort measures like moving around, massage or aroma therapy.
- At what point do you usually induce labor? How much over my due date can I go? Some OB’s recommend an induction on the actual expected due date while others let you go up to 10 days over. Make sure you feel comfortable with your OB’s protocol and practices.
If those questions are not answered with patience and consideration during your regular visit make another appointment to only discuss these topics or consider changing your care provider. After all, you should feel comfortable with your birth team.
Stephanie Heintzeler is a German educated midwife, acupuncturist and US-educated doula and childbirth expert. She was born in New York City but raised in Germany, where she found her enthusiasm for midwifery already when she was 12 years old (thanks to her younger brother who was born when she was 12). Stephanie successfully finished her midwifery-exam in 2000 in the Black Forest of Germany and became a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) in 2014. Besides midwifery and doula-work, Stephanie is a dedicated NY Cares volunteer (non profit-organization) through which helps New Yorkers, especially expecting moms, in need.
Fun Facts about Stephanie:
- I have delivered 1246 babies as a midwife in Germany (678 baby boys and 568 baby girls, 38 water births, 7x breech babies naturally born, 21 times twins -half of them vaginally born-, 1 time triplets)
- I supported 155 parents-to-be during labor and birth in New York. Those babies were born in 9 different hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- I worked with about 200 "newborn" parents in their postpartum phase
- I held childbirth classes for about 830 moms and dads to be
- Attended over 240 c-sections
- "Caught" 15 babies between hospital entrance and the delivery room