Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Midwife During Pregnancy

November 20, 2010 at 7:41 am (Doula, Education, Hospital Procedures, Informed Consent)

Your care provider and her or his philosophy about pregnancy and birth can shape the emotional tenor and physical experience of your labor and birth.  Ideally, you might want to interview three or four care providers before settling on one.  Here’s a short list of questions that you can ask providers- the answers will reveal something about both their practice and their personality, which can help you in making your decision.

If you already have a care provider, these questions can give you a sense of how your doctor or midwife likes to practice.  If her or his answers differ from your preferences, then you can begin a discussion to explore your options.  If there are any procedures that you would or wouldn’t like that are not in your care provider’s routine scope of care, you can request that whatever you’ve agreed on be noted in your chart, for future reference.  The information you glean from these questions is also helpful in constructing a birth plan.


Do you have any recommendations for childbirth classes?

Are you likely to deliver my baby?  Can I meet your backup(s)?

What percentage of your patients deliver vaginally?  By Cesarean?

About how many patients out of 10 are induced?  How many go into labor naturally?

Have you worked with any doulas?  Are there any you could recommend for me?

What do you think of birth plans?

How long could I go with my amniotic sac broken before you’d want me in the hospital?

Do you do episiotomies?  If so, what would make you want to do one?

How often do you perform amniotomies (breaking the bag of water)?  Why do you do them?

How often do you perform cervical checks during labor?  What do you do if a client doesn’t want to be checked?

Are you comfortable with me eating and drinking during labor?

Are you comfortable with me walking and moving during labor?

How do you feel about natural, nondrugged labor?  Would you support me if I chose not to have an epidural?

Are you comfortable with me pushing in positions other than lying on my back or semi-sitting?

Will you deliver a baby in the water?

How do you manage the delivery of the placenta?

This is just a short list of questions.  You can find a more extensive list of questions here.  Remember that it’s not just what your care provider says when they answer your questions, but also how they answer, that’s important.  For instance, when asking about specific procedures, if your doctor says “Oh, all women in my practice…….”, then s/he might not have a lot of flexibility regarding your individual needs.  If your doctor is surprised that you would ask about unmedicated labor (“Why would you want to feel the pain?”), it might be a good time to question his/her belief in your body’s ability to give birth without intervention.  The best care providers are the ones who use their skill and knowledge appropriately, and balance the medical care they provide with the autonomous decision making of their clients.  You have the opportunity to find a care provider that fits well with your outlook and wishes.  Don’t hesitate to “shop around” until you find someone you feel really comfortable with!


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Homeopathy for Pregnancy: Sepia

November 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm (Comfort Measures, Homeopathy)

Sepia is one of the two (the other being Pulsatilla) of the most well-known “women’s remedies”. It has much applicability in the realms of menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and menopause. When used in a person who resonates with the Sepia state, it can relieve many of the symptoms of pregnancy and birth, while increasing the overall sense of well-being. To describe the Sepia state, I’ll create a picture of a woman who carries many of the Sepia characteristics.

Imagine a woman who has had several children in a short amount of time (we’ve all heard of the grandmother who had five children in five years). She is constantly at work, doing dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and tending to her little ones. Over time, this mother who was once responsive to each little cry or need has become more and more dull. Her sallow face sags, the expression changing less and less as her feelings of overwhelm deepen. Everything about her seems to sag- her face, her skin, even her internal organs. As she’s working one day on the unending stream of housework, a child comes to her, crying and clinging to her skirt. Full of irritation and depression, she snaps at her child so sarcastically that the little one runs away, crying. In the moment, the mother feels nothing, but later that day, she lies alone in her room, crying from guilt. She feels that she doesn’t love her husband or her children, but she knows she should, and she feels hopeless.

Sepia is made from the ink of the cuttlefish, and like the cuttlefish, she is very responsive in her healthy state. However, if she becomes overwhelmed, she retreats into unresponsiveness, depression, and sarcasm. She feels better with vigorous exercise such as a brisk walk or some energetic dancing. She wants to be left alone, and she cries when she tells others about her troubles.  Everything about her sags.  Here are some of her more specific symptoms:

Nausea: At the thought or smell of food.

Face: Yellow. Brown “saddle” across nose and under eyes.

Headache: With nausea and vomiting. Worse with the smell of food. Better after meals. Stinging pain.

Food: Craves chocolate and vinegar. Dislikes milk, and it makes her sick.

Genitalia: Uterine or cervical prolapse. Feels her organs are sagging out of her vulva. Pelvic weakness.

Temperature: She tends to be chilly. Sometimes experiences flushes of heat.

Sepia in 30 or 6c can be helpful for morning sickness, if the woman has some of the characteristics of the Sepia state.  It can also help rouse a woman out of postpartum depression.  Consult a homeopath if you have chronic symptoms for which you think Sepia might be helpful.

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