Tips & Tools: Caregiver



How can I become familiar with my options before making my decision?


What should I ask myself about the experience of meeting with a maternity caregiver?

How should I go about interviewing possible caregivers?

How do I know that a caregiver practices in line with the best research about safe and effective care for mothers and babies?

What questions should I ask when interviewing a midwife?

What questions should I ask when interviewing a doctor?

How do I find out which caregivers and services are covered by my insurance plan?



How can I become familiar with my options before making my decision?

We encourage you to meet with several caregivers to explore options and become informed before making this important decision. If you are unsure about which type of caregiver to work with, you can interview different types of maternity caregivers. If you know you want to work with a specific type of caregiver, it is a good idea to consider more than one individual before making this important decision as personal styles and practices can vary.

What should I ask myself about the experience of meeting with a maternity caregiver?

When you go to interview a caregiver and during your prenatal visits, ask yourself how you feel about the experience:
  • Is this person listening to me and respectful of my wish to make careful decisions?
  • Is the person willing to take the time to answer my questions to my satisfaction?
  • Does this person share my vision for my maternity care and birth?
  • Do I think that I can feel comfortable with and trust this person?
  • Can I get what I want from this person?
  • Does this feel right for me?
This person will be working intimately with you and your family through one of the most important times of your life. Follow your instincts. Only you can make the decision that is right for you. If you have concerns, even if you are well into your pregnancy and prenatal care, it may be important to explore other options.

How should I go about interviewing possible caregivers?

Make arrangements for a separate visit that is devoted to learning about the caregiver and practice — a "consultation" rather than an "intake" visit. This will give you a chance to gather information before you commit to working with one caregiver or another. Find out in advance whether the office charges for such a visit and, if so, whether your insurance company will pay for a consultation for this purpose. Some practices offer regular informal get-togethers for newly pregnant women to meet with caregivers and learn about the practice.

You may want to ask your partner or a friend to come with you to the interview. This will allow you to discuss your thoughts and impressions afterward with someone you know and trust.

Having a list of questions with you (see below for questions that you may wish to print out) can help:
  • organize your thoughts and concerns
  • ensure that you get all of your questions answered
  • communicate to the caregiver that you are serious about your needs and preferences, and eager to be involved in decisions about your care
  • show respect for the caregiver's time by being organized and efficient
  • compare answers from different caregivers.
If you are interested in working with a specific caregiver, it is also important to:
  • meet — and be sure you feel comfortable with — anyone else who may be "on call" to attend your birth; even if practitioners work together in some capacity, their philosophy and approach can differ
  • explore — and be sure you are comfortable with — the birth setting where the caregiver works; you can usually take a tour, and this website also has questions to ask about birth settings.

How do I know that a caregiver practices in line with the best research about safe and effective care for mothers and babies?

Maternity care can vary from one caregiver to another. This website can help you understand why it is important to choose a caregiver who practices according to the highest standard of care, and can help you recognize such care.

What questions should I ask when interviewing a midwife?

This website provides a list of important questions you may want to ask to get to know midwives, their policies, and styles of practice. Think about what is important to you, and be sure to add any other questions or concerns that you may have.

You can download a pdf version of this list with space for making notes, and take it with you when you interview midwives.

What questions should I ask when interviewing a doctor?

This website provides a list of important questions you may want to ask to get to know doctors, their policies, and styles of practice. Think about what is important to you, and be sure to add any other questions or concerns that you may have.

You can download a pdf version of this list with space for making notes, and take it with you when you interview physicians.

How do I find out which caregivers and services are covered by my insurance plan?

Contact your insurance plan to find out:
  • names and contact information for local midwives and physicians who are covered by the plan
  • whether the plan covers care in the setting where you wish to give birth
  • whether there are any maternity services that are not covered
  • whether they will cover visits that allow you to meet with caregivers before making your selection.
You will also want to check with your provider and birth setting to be sure that they accept your insurance.

Most recent page update: 3/10/2006


© 2014 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

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