When it comes to birth, which is more important: the practitioner or the place?

Guest post by Jamie
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I had my 20-week appointment with my midwife this week and she announced that she’s moving to a new hospital. She told me that I can either stay where I am with a different midwife, or I can follow her to the new place. My next steps are to meet with the new-to-me midwife, but also to tour the other facility. I know friends who have had positive birth experiences in both places, and also have a friend who delivered with this other midwife. Therefore, I think I am fortunate in the decision department.

I have two good choices ahead of me — stay with a midwife whom I know and trust already or stay closer to home with a hospital and staff I know and like already.

I’m wondering from other mamas, though, which do you feel is more important for the birth: the practitioner or the place? Are there other factors I should be considering?

Comments on When it comes to birth, which is more important: the practitioner or the place?

  1. Both the place and the practioner matter. Every maternity ward has it’s own birth culture. In some the nurses have experience with natural birth and are happy to support it, and the doctors (or back-up doctors in the case of midwife attended births) are more patient and accommodating (more likely to support intermittent monitoring, eating during labor, walking the hallways, etc.)

    And it depends on the style of your practioner. Some midwives and docs like to be in the patient rooms as much as possible and will be real partners in your labor, and others will be in the call-room until the nurse calls them to say the baby’s head is showing. If you expect the midwife to be more hands-on then it makes sense to give preference to the provider over the place.

    You should definitely take the tour of the new place, and meet the other midwife at the old place before you make a decision. Sometimes there are intangibles that will sway your decision. This isn’t something that can be done just by making a list of pros and cons.

    Good luck!

  2. I’d be looking at the c-section rate for both hospitals and both providers. Talk to the other midwife or midwives and see the vibe you get. Tour the other hospital and know their policies in relation to you birth plan (for example: do they allow free movement in labor). I would kind of be weighing both.

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