Finding the right care provider

Finding a care provider who is a good match can be a tricky thing, and sometimes it’s hard to pin down what exactly makes for a good match. Two big factors to consider are practice style and communication style.

Practice style refers to the kinds of medical recommendations and advice they give. Some care providers take a more active management approach where they take proactive steps to try and avoid problems. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it leads to more complications from the interventions themselves. Someone with a more active management approach might be more likely to induce labor, to do things during labor to try and speed it along, to remove the placenta manually, etc. They might be compared to an orchestra conductor, taking charge of the pace and sound of the music.

Others take an expectant management approach, where they trust the process and watch and wait. Carefully watching for signs of trouble and waiting to intervene until there is a problem are hallmarks of this approach. Often the expectant management approach is compared to a lifeguard, sitting poolside watching for people who need help, and ready, willing and able to jump in and help if needed.

Since providers are also human beings, most of them tend to have some elements of both styles, but often one will predominate.

The second important factor is their preferred power dynamic.

Some care providers take an expert approach and expect that patients will follow “doctor’s orders”. Others take a more collaborative approach and view their expertise as one part of the equation, working with patients to find a solution that works with their patient’s values, expectations and plans. Neither approach is bad or good, and knowing your own personality and what you want from your care provider can help you figure out which style is the best match for you.

And finally, look at their communication style. Do they explain things well in a way that gives you the amount of information you want and in the way you can understand it? Some providers are better than others at sensing the level of complexity people want to know and can understand.

I hope that this has given you some specific ideas about the provider-parent relationship that might help you in evaluating and finding the care provider who is right for you.