In the greater Seattle area, there are a variety of settings to birth your child. If you already see an OBGYN or Midwife, they will most likely have privileges to deliver only at certain hospitals or birth centers (or of course, your home!). Herein lies the question most women don’t expect to ask—do I like the setting my provider delivers in? If the answer is yes, then your all set. If not, you’ve got some work to do. The first best plan is to visit at least one birth center and one other hospital.
You are a consumer with consumer rights! You do not have to stay with the same provider you have used for previous gynecological care. Shop around—mother-friendly, personable midwives abound in our city. And if you risk-out of or choose to opt out of midwifery care, you are in a city with many skilled and caring Obstetricians. Be sure to ask your midwife or doctor, “Who will deliver my baby?”. This is the dividing line between practices in our area. If you want a relationship with one doctor and you want her or him to deliver your child this question is critical. Many moms have gone to the hospital to find a doctor they’ve rarely or never met deliver their babies. When you want a relationship with your provider that will be carried through to the delivery, which research shows is the most beneficial to mothers and babies, this is a question you don't want to take lightly. In a practice where the providers rotate every 24 or 72 hours, be sure to make appointments with each of the providers in the practice. Getting to know them is the only way to give yourself the opportunity to work with someone you know for the actual delivery of the baby. For many women, this system works out great and they are comfortable delivering with any of the providers in a practice. And for many others, the thought of a stranger as a doctor is uncomfortable and worth the time to interview other providers to find a better fit.
In the city of Seattle we are fortunate to have some incredible birth centers well located and near the hospitals. This allows women to use a midwife, whose model of care is considerably more healthy and psychologically comforting, without concern about safety (or of the mess they are afraid will be left behind). If you want help finding a provider who will provide maternity care and deliver your child, there are some options: find out who your girlfriends and co-workers use, click here for a list of birth centers, open up the yellow pages and call around, or you can call or email Jodilyn--she will be happy to help you with referrals. (206.340.7467)