In the first few weeks of pregnancy most women are focusing on getting through the morning sickness and fatigue that often comes with the first trimester and tend to focus their energy on baby announcements and gender reveals. However, some of the most fundamental parts of having a positive pregnancy, birth and postpartum start with how you prepare in the first trimester so here are my top tips for choosing a form of care for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

1. Vision –What is truly important to you in your pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Do you want to see the same care provider throughout the entire process? Do you want to be a part of the decision making? Do you want a birth photographer? How do you see yourself giving birth? Are you wanting minimal intervention? What kind of pain relief options are you comfortable with? Are you interested in waterbirth? Do you want to receive your own baby? This really is the foundation for working out what kind of care provider you choose as some of these things will not be available or supported in certain models of care.

2. Options – There are many options of care available, both public and private. It is important to have an awareness of all the different options and what they offer. E.g., waterbirth, continuity of care, midwifery led or obstetric led care or a combination of both, and what postnatal support they offer, just to list a few. Do not assume that the most expensive option is going to get you the type of care that you want. The maternity system is a multibillion-dollar industry and medicalised birth makes a lot more money and is easier to plan than physiological birth.

3. Interview – Once you are aware of all of the models of care available, it is time to interview some different services. If you are going private, you are paying for a service that they are offering. Do not assume because they are in the birth industry that they support the type of birth that you are planning for. If you are public, consider the different hospitals around you and what options they have available. You may choose to drive a little further to a hospital that offers services that your local hospital does not offer E.g., Waterbirth or midwifery group practice programs.

4. Ask questions about how they routinely support pregnancy and birth before telling them your plans for birth. If you know what is normal for them, you will know that they are naturally aligned with the type of birth you are planning. Ideally you want a care provider that has the same vision for birth as you do, you do not want to advocate for yourself if you do not need to. Consider asking how many women they book per month and what their induction and caesarean section rate are. If they seem uncomfortable answering these questions, then consider why? As the potential client paying for a service, you are within your rights to ask these questions to decide if they are the best fit for you.

5. Listen to the language that is used and how they see birth. Do they make birth sound like a normal physiological function of the body that has been happening for thousands of years or like something that needs to be managed and controlled by them? Do they make you feel like you are in control of making the decisions or telling you what you must do?

6. Listen to your intuition and choose a care provider that feels most aligned with your vision. Are there ANY red flags going off in your brain? Often these red flags happen early and start small but women choose to ignore them and see the good in the care provider. Those red flags usually become stronger as the pregnancy goes on and rarely go away.

If this seems overwhelming and you need a little help working through this and getting clear on your vision for birth, that is ok! Book a Pregnancy Planning call with me and let me help you consider all of your options.