So often we think of medicine as a science, but it can really be an art form. There's no one way for providers to practice medicine, and they often have very different philosophies.
This difference of professional opinions is even more pronounced in birth. Of course there are professional guidelines and recommendations (such as ACOG's or ACNM's stances on various aspects of birth), but ultimately each professional is going to lean on their education, experience, and preferences when making recommendations.
For example, let's say you have a suspected big baby.
Provider #1: "You're having a big baby, so we definitely need to schedule a c-section at 39 weeks. there's no way this baby is going to fit through your pelvis"
Provider #2: "You're having a big baby, so we're going to schedule an induction at 39 weeks to prevent baby from getting too big to fit"
Provider #3: "Looks like your baby is measuring big on this ultrasound, but late ultrasounds are known to be inaccurate. I trust that you can birth your baby - there's no need for interventions"
P.S - if you're told you're having a big baby, you NEED to read this article from Evidence Based Birth.
It's important to know if your provider's birth philosophy matches yours.
If you don't like their answers, it might mean they're not the right provider for you. Take time to interview multiple providers and see who is the best fit. Just because you've loved someone for your gynecology appointments, doesn't mean they're the right person to catch your baby!
10 Questions to Ask Your Provider About Their Birth Philosophy:
How do you work with doulas?
What happens if my water breaks before contractions? Do you recommend I head straight to the hospital, or can I labor at home until contractions have begun and/or are closer together?
What positions do you catch babies in?
Do you encourage laboring in water (shower / tub)? Do you catch babies in water?
What is your rate of episiotomy?
What is your rate of c-section? (Don't take "average" or "good" for an answer here - get a number)
If my baby is breech, will you require a c-section?
Do you recommend routine induction at 39 weeks?
Do you support delayed cord clamping, and how long do you delay?
What are your COVID-19 practices? Will you encourage induction if I contract COVID while pregnant?
Listen carefully to how your provider responds to these questions. If you don't like their answers, it might mean they're not the right provider for you. Take time to interview multiple providers and see who is the best fit. Just because you've loved someone for your gynecology appointments, doesn't mean they're the right person to catch your baby!
BONUS: Ask your provider if the other doctors in their group have similar philosophies. There's a good chance your provider won't be on call when you go into labor. Will the on-call doc be supportive of your birth preferences?
Not sure what some of these terms mean? You're not alone!