Birth Planning

Choosing your Labor Team

One of the most demanding tasks during your pregnancy will be putting together your labor team. A labor team is the group of people who will be with you as you labor and give birth. Some will be paid by you either directly or through insurance. Others will participate because of a deep love and concern for you and your baby.

For pay or not, the only people who should be with you during labor are those you have invited. The birth of your child is an exciting event that many friends and family may want to participate in. However, no one has the right to be with you unless you have invited them. To determine who should be invited to attend you while you labor, you need to ask yourself some questions.

  • Does this person help me feel calm, comfortable and capable?
  • Is this person interested in helping me, or watching me?
  • Does this person share my birth philosophies, or will she be disappointed in my decisions?
  • Do I want this person with me?
  • Has this person expressed interest in being with me while I labor?
  • Is this person prepared to assist me?
  • Do I have time to properly prepare this person to assist me?
  • Is this person willing to learn how to assist me?
  • Is the relationship between this person and other members of my team on good terms?
  • Will this person be a benefit to me in labor?
  • Let’s take a closer look at some of the members of your birth team, and your relationship with them.
 Doctor or Midwife

Usually, the first person you hire is a doctor or midwife, and the choice can be frustrating. In some areas, there may be only one or two professionals, while other areas have more than two phone book pages full! Where do you begin?

Get Recommendations:

Ask friends and relatives who have had children in your area about their experiences. What did they like about their midwife, and more importantly, what did they NOT like? Remember that her goals for labor may not be the same as yours, so what she considered a hindrance in a caregiver, you may consider desirable.

Interview Candidates:

Many women get nervous about interviewing a medical professional, but there is no reason not to. Remember, a doctor may be a medical authority, but she is not your authority. She simply knows a lot about the human body. You are hiring her to be your consultant, to give you information so you can make decisions. You wouldn’t hire an interior decorator without first hearing some of her thoughts and ideas about design. The same should hold true with birth attendants. Don’t hire someone who wants to make your labor something different from your desires.

The interview may be the only chance you get to discover if this practitioner provides services you are interested in purchasing. Be sure to ask your questions carefully, listening to the answers and asking for any clarification necessary to understand his or her point of view. The following are some suggestions of questions that will get to the real heart of the matter. Think about what you want to know and ask that. Questions such as “how often do you do episiotomies?” leave too much room for vague answers such as “only when they are necessary.” What you really wanted to know was, “In your opinion, what makes an episiotomy necessary?”

  1. Under what circumstances would you recommend that I be induced?
  2. What treatments do you recommend to clients who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes? or group B strep positive?
  3. In what ways do you support a woman who wants to have an unmedicated labor?
  4. Under what circumstances would you recommend that I not attempt an unmedicated, vaginal birth?
  5. What are some reasons I might have to labor in bed as opposed to walking around?
  6. What are some reasons I might need continuous fetal monitoring?
  7. What indicates to you that an IV is necessary during labor?
  8. What indicates to you that an episiotomy is necessary during labor?
  9. What are the benefits you have seen from squatting for second stage? or changing positions during second stage?
  10. How much time do you spend with a laboring mother?
  11. What has your experience been with doulas at labors?
Jennifer (Author)