The last discussion around ‘advice for birth’ leads nicely to exploring the idea of choice around care providers. In the last blog post, it was about putting you at the centre, and so then perhaps the next layer is about who supports you.

For those supporting you through your pregnancy, the ones that are privileged to be in those poll positions are for some your loved ones- and whichever form they come in. It can be a dear friend, partner, sister, mother, other children, family members, therapists, pets, a place. It will be different for everyone, but whoever or whatever it may be- it’s having those go to sources of love and support.

For others this may present as a challenge- as rather than feel supported, some women and expecting parents feel that their decisions are being questioned. This can be quite subtle, with occasional comments or be quite blatant. So already a test of strength has emerged. Couples I have worked with have had this experience ranging from others opinions on how to feed their baby and what they should be eating; or been the recipients of common remarks such as “well in my day...” or “oh, you’re doing that? (With a raised eyebrow).

My advice for those people experiencing this is not only to remember the choices are yours, but that in a strange way these people help you to become stronger and clearer in what you’re wanting as new parents, and this might be going too far for you…. but it’s also an opportunity to be grateful to them for showing you what’s important and discovering how you would like to be. Ultimately you may reach a deeper resolve especially if this is an old habit with certain people. If you find yourself in this situation it’s important to have someone of like mind on your side, to encourage you forward and remind you what’s important- that this is a special time to be celebrated. x

Beyond this inner circle of love, is a broader network, and for some it may be their community, their religion, their inspiration in life. Sitting around this is the people you chose to care for you, and it may be one person or a whole team of practitioners from different modalities, depending on your needs and wishes. The pdfs in the resources section may help you both in terms of deciding what kind of maternity carer is going to suit you, and also the kinds of questions to ask your prospective care providers, to gain an understanding of how they can serve you.

When choosing a maternity care provider (GP Obstetrician, a Private Obstetrician, a Private midwife, a Midwifery Group Practice..etc.) there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to deciding. In an ideal world it would be choosing someone that you trust and who you feel listens to you. Do you come away from the meeting feeling that all your questions were answered, or do you come away feeling dizzy and unsure of what just took place?

Everyone is different in their needs: some women/ expecting parents want a quick, to the point experience; others want to feel that everything is under control and their care is with someone who can arrange all of the elements of their care with ease and efficiency; others appreciate more time. Care providers are adaptable, but you will get a feeling from the moment you meet them/ speak with them. And I would kindly remind you – whatever you decide, you are not locked in, you can change your mind.

If you are in a small town where perhaps choices are limited, then your option could be to either meet who is there, because they might be fabulous, or if they aren’t meeting your needs ask your closest hospital who else is working in the region (as they may have a list of all types of practitioners). You may have to do a lot of the seeking yourself. I know some centres or services will accept women into their care even if they live remotely, and link up via online services/ share care. So there can be some creative solutions – just don’t be scared to ask- ring around. They should be happy to assist with your enquiry. x

I am an optimist and I am spoiled with amazing practitioners where I live, who are delight to know and work with. But I have lived in places where this is not the case, and it may be for you too, so I don’t want to leave you with feeling like you’re in a maze and can’t find the way out. If you feel resigned to a current care provider that isn’t quite what you were hoping for, but there aren’t any alternatives- then perhaps can you add in another element to provide you with what you need? For example can you find a student midwife to go on the journey with you, or have a doula to support you? Or if you are remote can you link up with likeminded people on line, or join a local community group to connect you with local women who may have other ideas? Can you talk to a maternity service in a larger town or city to get advice?

Like everything in life, it’s worth doing your research and shopping around to find the best fit for you, in the way you would a hairdresser, a butcher, a mechanic, a dentist, only this time it’s choosing someone/ or a service who will assist in supporting you and your baby’s health and wellbeing, and delivery your little one into the world.

Exciting times! Best wishes x