Finding a supportive care provider during pregnancy is the dream right? But what exactly does that look like? Is it someone you get along with? Or is there more to it? While supportive care providers come in many packages, I've compiled a list of three identifying traits that supportive care providers have so that you can find out who is really on your side. A supportive care provider will be known for several things including providing informed consent, offering shared decision making, and practicing evidence-based care.
Informed consent is your care provider's obligation to speak with you about the benefits, risks, and alternatives of their treatment. In turn, you have the right to give consent or refuse consent to proposed treatments, tests, and/or interventions during your course of care. A supportive care provider will explore all options with you and communicate these options with you at length.
Communication with a supportive care provider includes a conversation of options. A supportive care provider will not tell you what you HAVE to do. They will discuss your options with you at length, patiently answer any questions or concerns you might have, and collectively help you find a solution that the entire birth team is comfortable with. They will not coerce, trick, or lie to you. Supportive care providers do not manipulate, they facilitate.
Finally supportive care providers will be open with their current statistics which support the fact that they are practicing evidence-based care. This signifies that they care enough about their patients and clients to practice within recommended guidelines and offer the best outcomes possible for families working with them.
Ultimately, a supportive care provider will be open to conversations regarding your care. They will not have limitations not supported by peer reviewed research. Supportive care providers welcome your birth team, including birth photographers and doulas into your birth space and acknowledge the evidence-based benefit of how that support can improve your outcome. Support isn't just someone you like, it is someone who recognizes each of the families they serve as an integral part of the process. This is apparent in the respect given to each family through communication and decision making. If you are not sure if your care provider is supportive of you, a good childbirth education class and/or doula support can help you navigate that terrain.