Choosing a provider to care for you during pregnancy
A provider you like and trust is a big help throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Being pregnant is a major life event in more ways than one. To help you through it all, you'll want to choose a provider you like and trust.
What type is best for me?
Are you already seeing an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) or family doctor you like? He or she may be able to care for you through your pregnancy too.
But perhaps you're starting from square one. In that case, you'll need to think about the type of provider you want.
Obstetricians (OBs) specialize in caring for pregnant women and delivering babies.
Family doctors specialize in the health of the whole family. They can care for women before, during and after pregnancy. And they can care for the baby after birth.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are nurses with advanced training in caring for women with normal pregnancies. Some also provide routine reproductive care.
You can learn more about each specialty from:
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
- The American Academy of Family Physicians.
- The American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Finding 'the one'
Know which type of provider you want? Now it's time to ask for suggestions. Try asking:
- An OB nurse in your area.
- Staff at the hospital where you'd like to deliver your baby.
You'll also want to call the office so you can ask about:
- Office hours and location.
Next, schedule a time to talk to the provider. You may want to ask about:
- How the office handles urgent questions or emergency care.
- Whether the provider is likely to be available to deliver your baby.
- Where the provider has hospital privileges.
You'll also want to find out what your provider believes about issues that matter to you, such as:
- Pain relief during labor.
- Fetal monitoring.
- Cesarean birth.
Also consider the provider's style of care. Do you want your provider to take charge most of the time? Would you prefer to make as many of your own decisions as possible? Or do you want your provider and you to make decisions together?
It's not forever
Don't pressure yourself too much about finding the perfect provider. It's OK if your first choice doesn't work out. You may be able to switch.