Key Questions About Your (Prenatal) Care by Penny Simkin

A woman in labor is one of the most amazingly powerful and yet vulnerable beings in the circle of life. Birthing a human being is one of the most exhilarating experiences. It can also be one of the most traumatizing of our lives if we feel our power was taken from us.
Being an advocate for ourselves (as well as having advocates for us) can shape the feelings we hold about our births. It can also shape how we feel about our ourselves, our postpartum experience, and even our bond with our babies.
Knowing this in advance can make all the difference in the world. Being prepared to ask questions and advocate for your health can give you the birth experience you are looking for and the power to control your environment (within reason*) even when you’re feeling the most vulnerable.
Who is Penny Simkin?
Penny Simkin is an author, physical therapist, author, doula, childbirth educator and birth counselor. She is one of the most revered women in the birthing community. She is an amazing advocate for women and new families and provides a wealth of knowledge to the practitioners who seek to follow in her footsteps. 
Below are questions, Simkin put together for anyone (pregnant of not) receiving care and interested in advocating for themselves.
This is what it looked like…
Key Questions About Your Care, by Penny Simkin
Answers to the following questions will help you take part in your care responsibly and help you know what to expect.

When a test is suggested: 
What is the reason for it?  What problem are you looking for?
What will it tell us?  How accurate or reliable are the results?

If the test detects a problem, what will happen next?

If the test does not detect a problem, what will happen next?


When a treatment or intervention is suggested: During prenatal care there are an array of tests that can be run but are not always mandatory.

What is the problem? Why is it a problem? How serious is it? How urgent is it that we begin treatment? 

Describe the treatment:  How is it done? How likely is it to detect or solve the  problem?

If it does not succeed, what are the next steps?

Are there risks or side effects to the treatment?

Are there any alternatives (including waiting or doing nothing)?

Ask questions 2, 3, and 4 about any alternatives

While not all tests and interventions can be avoided, these questions can help you to understand and take an active role while you are under any practitioner’s care.
* Trying to control your environment is not full proof. When your baby and body have other plans, sometimes the best thing to do is step out of the way and let go of outcome. Listening to your body, your intuition, and the advocates supporting you is the best option for an empowering birth experience.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for general informational purposes only. I am not a medical professional, nor do I give medical advice. These articles are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any conditions, but to educate and broaden the perspective as it pertains to holistic health and wellness.
Please practice your own due diligence and research all techniques when applying these methods for personal use. Always speak with your Doctor, OB, Midwife, or Nurse Practitioner in regards to complimentary self-care regimen.

2 comments on “Key Questions About Your (Prenatal) Care by Penny Simkin

  1. I really like your suggestion of pregnant women becoming an advocate for their health and the babies health. Also having other advocates on their side, I feel like I can do that for my wife. We recently found out we are pregnant and are very excited yet nervous at the same time. There is a lot to learn about prenatal care and taking care of a child. We will make sure to start asking lots of questions and learning all we can. Thanks for the info.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback Jack. There is a lot to learn but ultimately the key is to know your options and then trust your instincts. Doulas are great advocates and just as much a source of support for expecting dads as they are for moms. Congratulations to you both!!

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