Prenatal Care

Yay! You’re pregnant! So what’s next?

Planned or unplanned, whether it’s your first or your fifth, pregnancy is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. When you’re pregnant, everyone has an opinion about what you should and shouldn’t do. The good news is, most of those opinions are wrong!

Let’s separate fact from fiction. Here you’ll find only scientific and evidence-based answers to your pregnancy questions and concerns. Some of the answers may surprise you, but much of what you have heard and read about pregnancy is just not true.

Click here to read about what happens at your prenatal visits.

If you don’t have a doctor yet (or even if you do), you might wonder what you should look for in an OB/GYN. The world is full of advice about this question, but here’s ours:

  • A good OB will have a low Cesarean delivery rate (don’t be afraid to ask – if they don’t know their rate, it’s probably too high).
  • A good OB will never cut episiotomies.
  • A good OB will be okay with letting you do almost anything during your pregnancy or delivery.
  • A good OB will be supportive of a trial of labor for a vaginal birth after Cesarean delivery (VBAC).
  • A good OB will not push you towards elective induction of labor.

Sometimes the best place to start is by picking the hospital where you would like to deliver. Don’t be afraid to call the birth units of your local hospitals and ask these same questions. A lot of hospitals have Cesarean rates well above 30% – even above 50%. Those are probably places to avoid.

If you have specific concerns, ask for specific examples. For example, let’s say you have had a previous Cesarean and want to attempt to have a vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC); don’t just ask whether a doctor or hospital will allow women to try to have a vaginal birth. Instead, ask them what percentage of their eligible patients attempt a VBAC and are successful.

Many providers have learned to say the right things to get patients in the door, but they actually don’t support things like VBAC or external cephalic version (turning a breech baby so that its head down to avoid a Cesarean) or vaginal delivery of twin pregnancies. So, ask them how often they do it – not just whether they will “let” you try.

Hopefully, you already have a doctor or midwife that you know and trust, or will find one soon. If you are stuck seeing someone who you think isn’t quite what you want, don’t be afraid to switch. Remember, it’s your pregnancy – not theirs.