When you're on the hunt for the best midwife or OB and hospital or birth center to have your baby, it can be hard to narrow down the field. Yes, you can schedule interviews. Yes, you can talk to friends and family. Yes, you can even Google search for other moms' opinions online. But if you want a direct, dependable, and knowledgeable referral, your best bet is to talk to your local birth network or group of doulas and childbirth educators.
It can be tough to find the rates of interventions and cesareans for care providers and hospitals, as they often are not published nor are they readily available. Even doulas who have been practicing for less than a year have the inside scoop on providers in your area, as well as the typical policies and standards found at local hospitals and birth centers. Doulas work in the presence of midwives, doctors, and nurses on a monthly or even weekly basis. They can tell you which care providers regularly practice evidence-based care, which ones have high rates of cesarean, and which ones truly support VBAC. Independently certified childbirth educators not affiliated with a specific hospital (many of whom are also doulas) also have this insight. Talking to doulas and childbirth educators in your area will give you a starting point to finding the best care provider and birth location for you and your baby. With referrals in hand, you can then proceed with scheduling interviews and tours to find the provider who best aligns with your preferences for birth.