10 Questions To Ask Your OB If You're Planning An Unmedicated Birth

Written by: Janel Duffy
Posted: February 10, 2024
Planning an unmedicated birth in the hospital involves careful consideration, preparation and communication. Asking your OB the right questions as you plan will help you understand what to expect, prepare for your birth, and ensure you have the support you need. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and your preferences may be more nuanced, but this is a great place to begin.

Here are 10 questions you should ask your OB if you're planning an unmedicated hospital birth:


1. What is your experience with unmedicated births?

Ideally, you want your OB to have lots of experience with unmedicated births. Your OB should hopefully see birth as a natural occurence and not a medical emergency. Check your OB's vibe to make sure they sound supportive and non-judgemental about your desire for an unmedicated birth.

2. Can you explain the benefits and potential drawbacks of an unmedicated birth?

Here you're looking for an unbiased and truthful answer. While every birth and mom is different, there are some general benefits and drawbacks that can be associated with an unmedicated birth. 

3. (A two-part question) What is your PERSONAL c-section rate, and what is the hospital's c-section rate?

Both answers here are important. You want to get an insight on the hospital's practices as well as your particular OB's practice.

4. What is your policy on eating and drinking during labor?

Some practitioners allow light eating and drinking during labor, some have stricter rules against it. Having a snack or a sip of an electrolyte drink during the birthing process can help keep your energy levels up.

5. What non-medical pain management techniques do you recommend and support during birth?

There's no secret about it, birth is intense. It's helpful to know ahead of time what techniques your OB will recommend during labor for pain management. These might include different positions, breathing exercises, massage and other techniques that you can practice at home long before you go into labor. It also includes considering a doula to help you through the whole process.

6. How do you monitor the baby and me during an unmedicated birth?

This varies by hospital and can vary by OB. You'll be able to better prepare mentally if you know you're whether or not you'll be hooked up to any machines, IV's or fetal monitoring devices. You can also use this point in the conversation to talk about to which level these monitoring techniques are required.

7. How do you feel about me delivering my baby in any other position besides my back?

Hopefully this question elicits a really low-key positive response like "You can give birth in any position that feels good for you".

8. How comfortable do you feel about me going past 40 weeks?

Ideally this response should match your own feelings about going past 40 weeks. If it doesn't, and your OB is somewhat strict about the 40 week mark, this is a great point in the conversation to discuss natural inductions if you do end up going over. Talking about this earlier on in your appointments will set you up with realistic expectations as you reach the end of pregnancy.

9. Can I meet the other OB's or Midwives in the practice who might be on-call when I go into labor?

It's important that you feel comfortable with where you're giving birth and who is present. Meeting the rest of the team ahead of time, on the off chance your OB is unavailable at birth, will help ensure a greater sense of peace and confidence in your birth plan, fostering a supportive and understanding environment. If you do get to meet the other OB's, it's a great time to also ask for a tour of the labor and delivery unit of the hospital so you and your partner know exactly where to go when it's game time.

10. How comfortable are you in sticking to my birth plan?

Of course this question means you have to create a birth plan first. But it's really important that your OB is on board with how you want your birth to look and feel. After all, it is your birth.

Like any other significant life event that you plan for, it's important to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel well prepared.

Your OB's answers should make you feel more confident in planning an unmedicated birth and you should feel assured that your OB is going to support the whole process. If for any reason you feel hesitant to ask your OB these questions, for fear of judgement or disapproval, we have another post for you to read.
And don't forget, having a doula present at your birth is another great tool to ensure that your birth plan, and your desire for an unmedicated birth is respected and advocated for.

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Category: Getting Ready For Your Baby
Tags: obgyn , birth prep , hospital birth , unmedicated birth , hospital policies


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