So, another cousin Susan of mine who is planning on having a baby soon also asked me about choosing a practitioner. I wrote about questions to ask a practitioner, but the comments section (except for some glaring nonsense) went in the fantastic direction of who else in the community to ask about opinions on practitioners (namely, physicians).
RealityRounds, a NICU nurse, recommended asking the nurses. Rachel, from Women’s Health News, points out this may be difficult for some people, and also agrees with me that the online sites that rate doctors may be problematic and biased. Except for NursesWhoRatOutUnskilledDoctorsAnonymously.net, which is an excellent resource. But top secret and not available to the general public, as of yet. (Snort!)
So, there is the Birth Survey, which I am embarrassed to say I was unfamiliar with until Jill from The Unnecessarean pointed it out. I’ll have to check that out some more, but it looks interesting and potentially helpful. Jill also mentions ICAN. If there is a local chapter, they may be a good source, especially, of course, if someone is seeking a VBAC.
Jill P. gave a good example of how parenting groups can be helpful, but that would most likely be for a child after the first one. I was thinking going to a La Leche League meeting would be a good idea. And Pinky agrees that residency sites aren’t an ironclad guarantee of a good practitioner, but has an interesting suggestion of calling the local birthing center and asking them about the local practitioners. I would also recommend considering hiring a midwife, of course! But, if you don’t think a midwife is the best choice for you, you can call and ask who their back up physicians are, who they would refer women who are risked out of a midwife attended birth (and this may not be their back up physician – collaborative care is different than a back up physician, and that is different than a referral.)
No matter who you are talking to, ask why they recommend someone. Their priorities may be different than yours. And, ask if there is anyone they would recommend avoiding, too!