Couples need to make informed decisions

Willow Hall, Bismarck

Since 1993 the maternal mortality rate has more than doubled, bringing the U.S. to the bottom of the developed world. As a Doula, a non-medical support person who supports pregnant women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, I am often asked about choosing a doctor who will support their choices.

In North Dakota we have many great doctors – but even so there is big variability in how each doctor makes calls that influences how they practice. This is a good thing, as those differences are what facilitate the best care for families. A good fit with a care provider who has a similar belief about birth is ranked as very important to women when they look back on their births. It can be extremely challenging to find out who is the right care provider for you.

It is both not financially feasible, or expedient for a pregnant woman to spend her pregnancy visiting multiple care providers. I think one way to achieve this is by encouraging hospitals to release statistics of common birth interventions or outcomes that families may be looking for, or to avoid when it comes to their care.

Examples of this could be rates of c-sections, VBAC’s, elective induction rates, and rates of women who achieve unmedicated birth. The right to see which providers are most likely to provide the care that you are looking for is foundational for relationship that is built on mutual goals for the birth for that family.

We have a long way to go in improving care for moms and babies in the United States. I can’t claim to have all the answers to that systemic issue, but a little transparency in practices can go a long way in creating a collaborative birth team with common goals.


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