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Finding Your Health Care Provider

Finding Your Health Care Provider

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We are lucky to live in a time where we have numerous choices for the medical care we receive. If you're pregnant, you have many choices for your prenatal and postnatal care. Here are some of the options you have for choosing the health care provider that fits your needs for pregnancy and birth:

Family Physician: If your pregnancy is free from complications, and you feel comfortable with a general practitioner, a family physician can provide you with pregnancy care. Your family doctor will be trained in pediatrics and gynecology, so he or she will have extensive knowledge about pregnancy and childcare.

Obstetrician: An OB/GYN is a physician whose specialty is pregnancy and childbirth. Your obstetrician will be present with you when you deliver your child, as well as providing medical care throughout your pregnancy.

Perinatologist: These obstetricians are for high risk pregnancies, and will usually only see patients who are referred by another physician. A perinatologist will monitor your health throughout the pregnancy, and will deliver your baby when the time comes.

Nurse Midwife: There are different types of midwives to choose from. A nurse midwife has a degree in nursing, and has trained in obstetrics. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, they can provide you with all of the prenatal care you need. They are able to deliver your baby in the hospital or your home, but need to have a backup physician in case of an emergency during delivery.

Traditional Midwife: A person that is educated in midwifery, and won't deal with high risk pregnancies. They may attend a hospital birth if you also want a doctor there, or will assist you in a birthing center or with a home birth. It is important that you look into the credentials of any traditional midwife, as there are various laws for different states.

Doula: A doula cannot deliver your baby, so he or she is used in conjunction with a physician or midwife for the birth. A doula can provide you with natural pain management techniques, care for you during the birth with massage or herbal remedies, and coach you on breathing exercises.

It can be a hard decision to make about the kind of care you want. Everyone who has ever had a baby seems to have an opinion on the best pregnancy care and birth plan to have, but it is a decision only you and your partner can make.


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