Why choosing the right obstetrician or midwife matters

Pregnancy can feel overwhelming – there are so many decisions to be made. One of the first ones is choosing your care provider and your model of care. It is also one of the most important decisions you will have to make regarding your birth. Your care giver matters! Having the right care provider for you can make the difference between you feeling safe, supported and respected during your birth (even if things don’t go to plan) or feeling traumatised and let down. 

A traumatic birth doesn’t have to refer to the physical. According to PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) a traumatic birth is one where the birthing person feels any of the following;

  • powerless
  • confused
  • abandoned
  • fearful
  • unheard
  • disregarded

 Some of the risk factors that can contribute to anxiety or depression after the birth of the baby include;

  • ineffective or limited support from partner, family and/or health professionals during labour and birth
  • fear for the safety of herself or her baby at some point during the labour or birth
  • perceptions of not being in control during labour and not knowing what is going on.

The right care provider can help you feel safe, supported and respected. Choose wisely!

I have focussed largely on choosing the right obstetrician during this piece (as 24% of women birth in private hospitals under the care of a private obstetrician), the same applies if you are choosing a privately practising midwife.

Kate Vivian Bright Mums How to choose your obstetrician

How to choose your obstetrician

Ask for recommendations and reviews

When making decisions, often one of the first things we do is ask the opinion of those around us. Finding an obstetrician is no different. What is important, in this case, is seeking the recommendation of someone who has a similar philosophy on birth as you do. It’s important that you find someone who would be looking for the same thing in an obstetrician and the same support as you want.

Imagine hiring an obstetrician because your colleague loved them and thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. Only to hire that obstetrician and find out much later that your colleague loved them because the obstretician was absolutely fantastic at performing caesareans – which is exactly what your colleague wanted when they were planning their elective caesarean. What happens if that obstetrician is less supportive of natural births?

This is why it is so important to get the big picture when getting reviews and recommendations from others. Make sure you really are on the same page.

Get into interview mode


Ask questions – lots of them! You wouldn’t hire a new employee, or a babysitter for your children without asking lots of questions. Nor shold you hire an obstetrician without asking questions.

You are hiring your obstetrician to be with you during the most intimate, vulnerable and special moments of your life. You deserve to have one who respects you and your decisions, one you feel comfortable with and one who has the same philosophy on birth as you do.

If it doesn’t feel right, if you aren’t getting the answers that you are comfortable with, you are under no obligation to go with that care provider. Simply thank them for their time and find someone else.

For a list of questions to ask your careproviders, click below



Never forget a question again!

30 must ask questions for your obstetrician or midwife

Questions to ask your obstetrician

Look out for red flags


When you ask questions of your potential care provider take time to really listen to their answers. To what is being said and what is not being said – this gives you a chance to look out for any red flags. A red flag is anything that causes you to feel any doubt, worry or concern about your care provider and what they are saying.

A red flag may be your care provider having ‘standing orders’ when it comes to labour – things they insist on all of their birthing women have in place regardless of circumstances. For example, a careprovider might say thay they require all women to have a cannula inserted ‘just in case’. This indicates that they may not be supportive of a normal, physiological birth and are preparing you for interventions.

Another red flag might be talk of big babies even from earlier in your pregnancy. This may indicate that your care provider is planting the seed of being induced because ‘you don’t want to have to birth a big baby, do you?’.

Listen to the language your care provider is using. How are they talking about birth? Are they using words like risky or dangerous? If so, this could indicate that they perceive birth as a medical event that requires management, not a physiological event that occasionally requires assistance. Words like ‘not allow’ or ‘allow’ also speak to how the care provider perceives the birthing mother – as someone who is there to obey the directions of the obstetrician rather than someone who has bodily autonomy and can make their own decisions. 


Be aware of the ‘bait and switch’


The bait and switch occurs when your careprovider says one thing at the beginning of your care (perhaps to get you to book or hire them) and then changes the story later on.

One thing to look out for here is avoiding conversations or using phrases like ‘we don’t need to talk about that now’ particularly when it comes to your birth preferences.


Find someone you are truly comfortable with


Simply liking a potential caregiver is not enough – if you like someone buy them a coffee!

Your care provider will be with you during some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments of your life.  You need to feel completely comfortable with them during your pregnancy and labour.  As Dr. Sarah Buckley puts it a birthing person needs to feel ‘private, safe and unobserved’ during labour. Is this how your obstetrician makes you feel?

You also need to be able to have open, honest conversations with them. If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions, then you probably won’t feel comfortable labouring with them.

More than feeling comfortable with them, you need to know that your preferences and decisions will be respected and supported. You need to be sure that their philosophy on birth is the same as yours.



Changing your mind? 

Just because you have chosen a particular care provider or model of care, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with that. It is ok to change your mind!

It may feel daunting moving on from a particular care provider but don’t feel you owe any loyalty to your current care provider. It is far more important that you have the right care giver for you. One who will support and respect your decisions and treat you with the respect you deserve on what should be one of the most incredible days of your life.

Find your perfect obstetrician!

Creating your ultimate birth team is important but it shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Feel confident ‘shopping around’, ask loads of questions and find the right person to support you on your journey to a calm, positive birth.

Can’t think of any questions to ask? Not sure what you should be asking to find out if your obstetrician or midwife is right for you? Grab your free guide – filled with questions for early pregnancy and questions for your obstetrician or midwife.

Questions to ask your obstetrician

Find your ultimate birthing team

Kate Vivian is a self-professed pregnancy and birth geek who is finally learning to embrace the chaos of having 3 kids. It was the birth and ‘bringing baby home’ experience of her first baby, and the overwhelming guilt that went with it, that led her to start Bright Mums – and create a world where Mums matter.

 A Certified Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, childbirth educator and postpartum doula, Kate works with Mums-to-be not only supporting them through pregnancy, and birth but also teaching them to honour themselves at a time when the world is telling them their baby is the most important thing.

With almost 2 decades in adult education, Kate has the ability to create a safe space, a non-judgey space. A place where Mums can relax and feel supported regardless of what their journey looks like. 

A keen traveller in a former (pre-kids) life, Kate dreams of the day her kids are big enough to take skiing and they can completely show her up while she is busy falling down mountains.

Want to know more about how Kate can help you find your ultimate birth team? Click here