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Choosing a healthcare provider should be the biggest part of your pregnancy planning.
Why? Because you will spending a lot of time with that person for the next 9 months… or more!
The person you ultimately choose will influence:
- the type of prenatal care and one-on-one attention you receive
- the quality of tips and advice you obtain throughout your pregnancy
- your overall comfort level with the birthing process
It’s interesting that many couples choose a doctor or pregnancy healthcare provider in much the same way that they would choose a new shirt. They see one they think they’ll like, so they choose it. While this may work well for some couples, for others such an approach does not work well at all.
Ending up with a healthcare provider that does not match your personality (or doesn’t do things the way you would like) can be very uncomfortable — both for you and them.
Before you can choose a pregnancy healthcare provider during the pregnancy planning phase, you first need to understand the different types of providers:
- Midwife. A midwife is trained only to help women who have low-risk pregnancies give birth. She usually assists a woman in giving birth at home or at a healthcare center.
- Perinatologist. This is an MD that is specially trained to help women with high-risk pregnancies give birth safely. She usually works in hospitals only.
- Family Practitioner. A family practitioner is another type of MD. This type of doctor specializes in pregnancy and health care for the entire family. He usually works in a hospital or family health center setting. He also works with obstetricians, in cases where surgery needs to be performed.
- Obstetrician. This is a type of doctor that specializes in gynecology, birth, and pregnancy. He can work with high-risk pregnancies, but doesn’t always. He tends to work in a hospital, but some obstetricians are setting up their own birthing centers and assisting with home births as well.
- Nurse Midwife. A nurse midwife is a nurse who has specialized training to help a woman give birth. She is only trained to assist with low-risk pregnancies and births.
A few questions to ask yourself when choosing a pregnancy healthcare provider are:
- Do you want someone else to call all the shots when it comes to your pregnancy? Or, do you want to be in full control?
- Do you want to be a partner with your pregnancy healthcare provider? Or, are you comfortable going along with “the way things are usually done.”
- Do you want to make your own decisions with regard to your pregnancy? Or, do you want to rely completely on your healthcare practitioner’s advice?
In the end, your decision will likely be influenced the most by the type of birthing options that are available to you with each of the different health care providers mentioned above. (For example: home birth vs hospital birth.) Which one is your first choice? Which ones are you interested in learning more about? Knowing the answers to those 2 questions will point you in the right direction toward choosing the best healthcare provider for you.
Toying with the idea of having a home birth instead of a hospital birth? The DVD ‘The Business of Being Born’ is one of many helpful resources that you may want to explore.
Here’s how to choose a birth doula.
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.