10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Prenatal Care Provider

7. What is your usual recommendation if pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks?
Some doctors automatically schedule a cesarean, others induce labor, while there are those who wait and see. No research supports intervention for this.

8. What percentage of your patients have epidurals? Other drugs? Pitocin? Routine IV's? Confinement to bed?
(See Chapter 7 other common birth interventions, which you can add to this list.) You are likely to get what your doctor usually prescribes. Remember we discussed the hospital's written rules (#10 in Ten Questions for Hospitals)? The unwritten rule is the doctor's protocol, her usual, routine recommendations for all patients. That's why hospital nurses could answer your questions about specific doctors.

9. What is your recommendation for the use of the EFM?

While the hospital itself is likely to have a policy for use when you first get there, continued use is up to your doctor. She may say that she wants you to use the EFM during all of the labor because either there aren't enough nurses, or none of them will use the fetoscope to monitor your labor. If you like everything else about her, and she's willing to waive the EFM if you have your own nurse, then hire a monitrice. You don't have to take potluck with the staffing.

10. What is your recommendation for the use of ultrasound?

According to the FDA, 80 percent of women use ultrasound at least once during pregnancy. It's most commonly used in the following three instruments: a. Doptone or Doppler, the hand-held fetal stethoscope with transducer that's placed against your abdomen, and is used to listen to your baby's heart beat each month. b. scan, video screen with attached transducer that can determine your baby's gender and due date. c. external EFM, one or two belts with transducer (to monitor baby's heart beat) placed around your abdomen, or newer telemetry models which allow you to carry the transducer in your pocket.

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