Questions To Ask Your Doctor To Ensure A Positive Birth Experience (I) - Shyami Gomu Sathiaseelan

Every woman that has ever been pregnant can write a book on all the advice she has been given while pregnant. But when it comes to actual labor, nobody seems to have anything to say. Maybe, because like me, they too were in a lot of pain and hardly remember anything from that afterward. 
After having two babies, I realised, if I were to have one more I would know the exact questions to ask. My second birth was so different from my first because I had learnt a few things. I remember having a million and one questions to ask during my first pregnancy and while some were answered, I got more added to it. Thankfully, even though I did not ask all the right questions, my doctors and midwives, being the wonderful people that they were, worked out for me. I would suggest not being quiet and ask questions without fail.
Like they say, you have to start preparing your body before you get pregnant, same way start asking your questions before you get pregnant. Find doctors who are patient and will answer your queries. Look at their rate of C-section vs Vaginal births. Like for me, it was important to have a vaginal birth if there were no medical reasons for not having one. So I stayed put where I was and didn't go to my parent's house for my delivery.

If you have not heard by now, let me tell you, while some have an easy labor, others don't. It depends on your body and so many other things. Being prepared for it and setting your expectation levels right helps. Also, getting the right team to help you in this special moment is important.
If I had to have a baby now, I know I will definitely have a million and one questions to ask my doctor. But I would prioritize them and the most important ones for me are the ones I am going to share here.
While a lot of things are changing, there are still hospitals that do not allow partner/family in the labor room. For me, it would be the most important thing - to have someone who is calm, who will be with me and get me through those moments of pain and doubt.

As both my babies were 42 weekers and I have seen a lot of babies go beyond the EDD, it would be important for me to get a doctor that supports overdue pregnancies and not rush through. How long will the doctor let me go before they worry about inducing or going for a C-section? This goes with another question of how long will they allow me to labor before deciding to go for a C-section. My first delivery was pretty long and I am happy I was let loose and not pushed into deciding about a C-section.

Will they let me eat, shower and walk around in labor? With both my babies I was allowed to eat and was asked to walk around till the pain became consistent. For my second one, I was asked to walk from the ante-natal room to the labor room so as to get by baby down naturally. It is important for me not to be tied down by all the monitors. 
A few more important questions that I would have in mind if I were to ensure a positive birth experience would be:  
  • Whether they allow a doula to be present with me?
  • If my water breaks, would I be allowed to labor at home till I feel ready to come to the hospital? How much do they support natural labor?
  • If I were to have an emergency C-section would they be prepared to do a gentle C-section? What about pain management?
  • If they have to induce me, what methods would they use?
  • Would they do an episiotomy or can I opt to have a natural tear?
  • Can I decide on what position suits me to labor?
  • Would the doctor be open to delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin?
  • Does the doctor support breastfeeding or formula?
  • How actively or not the doctor manage the third stage of labor?
On the whole, each one of us has different questions and even if we have the same questions our priorities might vary. Hence, it is important to understand what you want, and to talk to the doctor about it so that your birth is a positive experience as it should be.     
Editor's Note:

Your birth leaves a lasting impression on you. It is imperative that you are aware of your choices that will help you make an informed decision. To ensure a positive birth experience, your decisions and choices need to be respected. This is why you should put a lot of thought and care into choosing your care provider since your care-provider plays a major role in ensuring the birth you want. 
As mentioned in the post, the list of questions will vary from each person to person based on your priorities. Hence, while drafting your set of questions, please do an introspection to understand your priorities.




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