Location. Location. Location.
And Provider. Provider. Provider. Where did you give birth? Would you/ did you return for subsequent births? Did you seek alternative options? Did you like your provider? Were they supportive of your wishes? Was your provider there for the birth or did you see multiple providers in one practice? Luckily for us, here in Buffalo, NY there are a variety of options. There are four major hospitals in the greater Buffalo region, and several others in the surrounding northern communities of Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY. We also have a The Birthing Center of Buffalo, and Fika Midwifery.
I'm a stickler for numbers...as in, if you're hoping for a low intervention birth, don't get caught up in the numbers. Numbers can be a HUGE mental road block. How dilated am I? What percentage am I effaced? How long and far apart are my contractions? How long have I been doing this and how much longer can I go on? How big is my baby? I'm "past due." Tick...tick..tick... This is a whole other post! However, back to numbers, I think it's important to know your facility and more importantly, your own provider's birth and interventions statistics. Where you give birth to your baby may impact the outcome. Here is a link to where you can find area hospital birth and intervention statistics.
The reason I think this is important to know, let's take Oishei Children's Hospital for example: The induction rate is 45.5%. The epidural rate is 65.6%. The cesarean rate is 37.2%. Without considering any other factors, just walking into the facility gives you a 1 in 3 chance of having a cesarean. Take into account that they are treating higher risk patients which may contribute to this statistic. Then ask about your own provider's statistics. Are they on the higher end of 37.2% or the lower end? Under what circumstances would the recommend alternative procedures? Let's consider Fika Midwifery. They report no statistics for inductions or epidurals. Their cesarean rate is 7%. 9 total cesareans for the year, 4 of them were breech babies. Also consider they are seeing lower risk patients. So much to think about!
Choosing a facility is a big deal. Choosing a provider is a bigger deal. What is the difference between supportive and tolerant providers? What questions should I be asking? Are they telling me one thing and then doing another? "But I love my doctor! I've been seeing them since I was 17!" That's great! I'm not saying your provider isn't a terrific human being. And they may be an excellent practitioner for the one time a year that you see them for check ups. But, how will they perform at a birth? What are their philosophies regarding natural birth and do they align with yours? What are the policies and procedures and standards of care at the facility you have chosen? You don't want an IV, but it's their standard to insert one on all patients. You want wireless monitors but they only have one set; first come first serve. You'd prefer to eat and drink but they only allow ice chips. This article, 20 Questions to Ask Your Provider, is geared towards the family that desires a limited amount of interventions, but it also has a comprehensive list a questions that anyone could be asking, no matter the type of birth they desire.
All these questions and more can be answered by taking a tour of your birth space, asking questions, having open, honest, and continual conversations with your provider, and of course, with your doula! Let's chat!