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Making Informed Choices: Finding the Right Obstetrician and Birthing Hospital

Imagine embarking on the pregnancy journey, fostering a deep connection with your obstetrician who aligns perfectly with your birthing beliefs. You follow their advice, eagerly touring the recommended hospital, only to discover it doesn't meet your expectations. At 27 weeks, this realization forces you to make a crucial decision: stick with your current healthcare provider and facility or search for a new one that aligns better with your needs.

Common Misunderstandings

A common misconception among expectant mothers is that a strong rapport with their obstetrician guarantees a harmonious birthing experience at the associated hospital. This belief often leads to unnecessary stress and disappointment. Despite having an excellent obstetrician, the hospital's practices and policies can significantly affect the birth experience.

The Reality of OB Practices

Many obstetricians are part of large practices, benefiting physicians through perks like reduced malpractice insurance rates and increased profits due to less on-call time. Consequently, parents might invest time and trust in an OB, only to discover that their chosen doctor may not be available for the birth. Additionally, it's not uncommon for hospitals, especially teaching ones, to rely heavily on residents for labor and delivery care, with the attending OB appearing mainly for birth or complications. Patients should be aware that they can decline care from student doctors and nurses, a fact often overlooked in hospital protocols.

Concerns for Black/BIPOC Families

The separation of prenatal care by office teams and delivery care by hospital teams can be particularly concerning for Black/BIPOC families, who already face significant maternal health disparities.

Hospital Privileges and Practices

Hospitals grant privileges to doctors following a thorough credentialing process. Although obstetricians typically deliver in hospitals where they hold privileges, they have limited influence over hospital policies. This dynamic can lead to discrepancies in care practices and available procedures.

The Significance of Baby-Friendly Hospitals

Hospitals with a "baby-friendly" designation have undergone policy shifts and staff training to support practices such as rooming-in and breastfeeding. However, expectant mothers should know that strict adherence to such policies can sometimes feel punitive.

Your Rights as a Patient

Pregnant women must know their rights, including the ability to change providers and access medical records quickly. Researching the cesarean section rates of both hospitals and practitioners and understanding your rights can empower you to make informed decisions regarding your care.

Creating a Supportive Birth Team

Building a supportive birth team, including a Birth Doula who respects your beliefs, is invaluable. This collaborative approach ensures a more positive birthing experience by empowering the expectant mother and prioritizing her voice.

Planning Your Birth

A Birth Doula, coupled with comprehensive childbirth education, can help create a detailed birth plan that reflects your desires and preferences.

Breastfeeding Support

To enhance the chances of successful breastfeeding, consider taking classes multiple times during pregnancy and securing postpartum breastfeeding support. The Affordable Care Act offers a breast pump to those over 36 weeks pregnant; check with your insurance for details.


Every expectant mother deserves a birth experience that resonates with her beliefs and preferences. You can approach pregnancy with confidence and empowerment by being informed about the roles of obstetricians and hospitals, advocating for your rights, and assembling a supportive team.


Denise Bolds, Bold Doula

Hi, I'm Denise

I'm Bold Doula, a passionate birth doula who advocates for empowering birth experiences. If you're looking for support or guidance on your journey to parenthood, please reach out. I'd love to help you navigate this transformative time with confidence and care!

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