Choosing a Health Care Provider and Birth Setting



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Choosing a Caregiver
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Your choice of health care provider and choice of birth setting can have a major impact on the care that you receive during labor and birth. You may need to explore many possibilities to find a health care provider and birth setting that offer care consistent with the best research and with your needs and preferences. Not every health care provider has the same approach or philosophy about pregnancy and birth. Health care providers also have different training, which may or may not influence their approach. Overall, it's best to have a good collaborative relationship with your health care provider that includes open communication, mutual respect, and shared points of view. Keep in mind that the type of coverage your insurance company offers may also impact your choices about a health care provider and birth setting.

Things to do before choosing a health care provider and birth setting:

1) Call your insurance company to learn which options are covered by your health plan. Ask about your co-payments and deductibles and what fees and services are covered by your insurance.

2) Interview health care providers and visit birth settings that are available in your community before choosing what is best for you and your partner. Be sure to ask about fees for services so that you can estimate your out-of-pocket costs (costs you will pay).

3) If you decide to have care that is not covered by insurance, you will have to pay for the costs yourself. Ask if you can pay on a sliding fee scale (a payment based on your income) or make special payment arrangements. You may also be eligible for Medicaid or other special programs for pregnant women. (Contact the Department of Social Services in your state to see if you're eligible.)

Whatever you decide, just be sure to research your options before you contact a care provider to ask questions. As you start your research to choose a health care provider, it is important to consider their personal qualities, philosophy of care, and professional qualifications. Remember, health care providers may be licensed to do different things, like prescribe medication, perform surgery, or work in a hospital. That's why it's important to learn as much as you can about the health care provider's training, beliefs, and where they attend births, before selecting one. For more detailed information on choosing a health care provider and birth setting, go to our Pregnancy Topics for Choosing a Place of Birth and Choosing a Caregiver.

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in your area for these birth options.


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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 9/9/2010