Choosing who will deliver your baby—and where—is a big decision. Providence St. Joseph Hospital and its highly qualified OBs can help you stay healthy, safe and empowered—from early pregnancy all the way through to labor and delivery.
Along with the excitement of being pregnant come many decisions about how you will bring your child into the world. Choosing the doctor and the hospital where you’ll deliver is, perhaps, the biggest of those decisions. You want a doctor who will be your trusted partner and a hospital that will support your choices. But you also want health care providers who have the training and resources to handle any situation if things don’t go according to plan. Here are some considerations to think about.
START YOUR SEARCH BY ASKING AROUND AND RESEARCHING ONLINE
Many women gather recommendations from family, friends, colleagues, online reviews and their primary care doctor. You can do some preliminary research online, where you can find information on doctors such as their education, board certification and specialties. You should also research accepted insurance plans.
However, avoid making your decision based solely on other people’s experience and online research. “Chemistry is really important, and the only way to find out if your personalities jibe is to talk in person,” says Hannah Newburg, MD, an OB-GYN at Providence St. Joseph.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
“A one-on-one meeting early in pregnancy helps you get to know the office staff and the doctor you’re considering,” says Dr. Newburg. These are some of the questions she suggests you may want to ask:
• What is your philosophy about pain management?
• What is your C-section frequency?
• Do you support a vaginal birth after cesarean?
• If I have questions between appointments, who do I call?
• Who will deliver my baby if you’re not available?
In addition to the answers the doctor gives to your questions, “pay attention to how comfortable you felt during the meeting,” says Stephanie Lao, MD, an OB-GYN at Providence St. Joseph. “Did
the doctor spend enough time with you? Did the doctor really listen? Did the doctor seem interested in what you had to say?” If you didn’t connect, you may want to keep looking.
RESEARCH THE HOSPITAL
Before you settle on a doctor, find out where he or she has admitting privileges. You want to be sure the hospital has the resources and protocols that allow you to have a birth experience personalized to your needs and preferences, while also being able to respond to an emergency.
Here are some questions to ask:
• Is there an anesthesiologist and OB-GYN on-site 24/7? If you go into labor and arrive at the hospital before your doctor, you don’t want to have to wait if you need care. At Providence St. Joseph, an OB is available around the clock. If there’s an emergent situation requiring a C-section, having an anesthesiologist on-site means there will be no delay in care.
• Does the hospital have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)? Not every hospital has an NICU, and if your pregnancy isn’t high-risk this may not seem like a priority. But Dr. Lao cautions, “During labor and delivery, anything can happen in the blink of an eye. You want to make sure you’re going to have the best support possible if you need it. In a unique partnership, CHOC
Children’s Hospital manages a level II ICU at Providence St. Joseph, giving patients access to nationally recognized newborn services. Dr. Lao notes that “a neonatologist can be in labor and delivery promptly.”
• Does the hospital support doulas? Some hospitals count a doula as an extra support person, and during the pandemic the number of support people allowed has been limited. That’s not the case at Providence St. Joseph, where laboring moms can receive support from a doula as well as their partner, even while the pandemic is still around.
• Does the hospital offer midwifery? We’re pleased to announce we offer a full suite of birthing options, including natural birth in a homelike setting with a midwife.
• Does the hospital support skin-to-skin contact after birth? Research has found many benefits to this experience. At Providence St. Joseph, cord clamping is delayed so moms can have immediate skin-to-skin contact with their baby.
• Does the hospital encourage breastfeeding? Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby—
it contains just the right amount of nutrients. Providence St. Joseph will help you with whatever your feeding preference. Lactation consultants are available to help you get the hang of nursing, and we help with different techniques to support newborn feeding.
• Does the hospital support rooming in? Rather than being whisked off to a nursery, your baby remains in your room with you, 24/7. The baby’s dad or your partner can also stay with you around the clock.
“We really work with our patients so that they can have the birth experience they want, we support women’s choices and preferences during labor and we’re there to make everyone feel safe and ensure you have a great birth experience,” says Dr. Newburg.