Pregnant? Who provides your prenatal care?

2 lines or a + sign, now what?

prenatal-care
Pregnant

Whom do you tell first? How do you share the news? When do you tell?

Wait a couple weeks or shout it from the rooftops? Sorry, there is no right answer.

Once the initial shock or excitement has worn off and the reality has set in, how do you decide who to go to for your prenatal care? When do you start getting prenatal care?  Do you see an OB/GYN? Or a Midwife?

According to Webster Dictionary a:

Obstetrician-a doctor who specializes in obstetrics; a branch of medical science that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

Midwife-A person qualified to deliver babies and to care for women before, during, and after childbirth.  The most common types of midwives are: lay midwives, certified midwives, certified professional midwives and certified nursing midwives.  Training, education, certification and licensure are all different.

For more information on the types, check out http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/intrapartum-care-midwife#types-of-midwives2

DECISIONS for Prenatal Care

How do you know which one to choose?  For some people this decision is easy, others it takes time and research to decide.  If you currently see a Gynecologist, they do not deliver babies, however, they may however recommend someone that they trust. Do you want to deliver at home, a birth center or a hospital? Birth is personal and there are so many things to think about when choosing your prenatal care professional.

Talk to your partner. Ask family and friends. Do you have a hospital preference? If so, do some research on the facility and learn their labor and delivery policies and procedures. Most importantly listen to your gut and go with whoever fits your own personal philosophy and makes you feel comfortable and confident. It is ok to check out websites, read reviews or go and interview them as well. If you choose to interview a potential provider try not to make your opinions obvious and ask open ended questions (how do you….when might you…)

Take the time to educate yourself. Become informed about ALL your options. Do not be embarrassed to ask questions. You need to find someone you connect with and that you trust.

If you are still feeling unsure about your choice, here are a few educational websites that might help you make the decision (OB or Midwife) that is best for your growing family:

https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2016/10/ob_midwife.php

http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/intrapartum-care-midwife#outlook3

https://www.babycenter.com/0_doctor-or-midwife-which-is-right-for-you_9348.bc

Are you high risk or think you may have some factors that put you at risk? Check out these sites to know who can provide you with the best prenatal care.

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/high-risk/conditioninfo/pages/factors.aspx

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/understanding-high-risk-pregnancy/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/high-risk-pregnancy/art-20047012

Doctor or Midwife, the decision is yours!

Now that you are educated on the differences, here are some more QUESTIONS to ponder to help you finalize your decision and start receiving prenatal care.

  • Does the OB or Midwife have a solo practice or are they a group of professionals?
  • WILL I see my OB or a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at my visits?
  • What is the average wait time in your clinic?
  • If I chose a Midwife, do they provide GROUP prenatal visits?
  • If I chose a Midwife, do they ONLY deliver at home or at a Birth Center? Will/can they deliver a hospital? Can I deliver in a tub? Do I have to take special classes to deliver in a tub?
  • What hospital(s) do the OB or Midwife deliver at?
  • If I want an epidural, will the midwife let me get one?
  • As a midwife patient, what happens to me if I become high risk during my pregnancy?
  • If I chose a Midwife and plan to deliver at home or at a birth center, what hospital would I go to if there is an emergency?
  • In the event of an emergency or the need for a c-section who is the OB that backs you up?

First of all, know that you will be spending a good deal of time with this provider. You will attend a minimum of 8-10 visits based on when you begin prenatal care and several more if you are high risk.

Keep a pen and paper handy at all times for questions as they arise.

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series about what questions you should ask during your prenatal appointments.