Midwife, Obstetrician and Doula: A Guide to this Exciting Decision!

So you found out you are pregnant.. Congratulations!

Now comes all of the questions: What can I eat? Can I still travel? When do I start my baby registry? What do I even put on my baby registry? What prenatal vitamin should I be taking? How do I find a doctor for my prenatal care? What type of doctor do I want for my prenatal care!? Ahhh

During my pregnancy I often heard confusion on the different types of prenatal professionals that are available to us. Some people didn’t even know doula’s existed or what they were!

Hopefully this blog will help answer your questions about the different types of prenatal health care professionals that are available to you!

A Doula:

A doula is a trained and certified professional who provides physical and emotional support to a mother before, during and for a short time after her pregnancy. They are also offer partner support as well.

Their role before and after labor typically includes informational support to mom and dad.

Their role during labor includes comforting touch, breathing techniques and any support to mom that she needs.

However, Doula’s will not deliver your baby, as they are not medically trained to do so. They simply provide you with extra support during this exciting experience for you and dad.

Click here for more information on Doula’s and to find one near you!

A Midwife:

Midwives are health care professionals who receive training and pass an examination to become certified in the specialty. Credentials differ throughout the United States.

Midwives tend to expecting mothers just as an obstetrician would. However, their model of care reflects a variety of options and they tend to limit unnecessary interventions. They believe that pregnancy and childbirth is a naturally occurring process and they tend to take their time to get to know you, as expecting parents, and your wishes.

Their role includes monitoring the mother during the childbearing cycle, providing education including information, prenatal care, and hands-on care during and after labor and minimizing invasive interventions.

They tend to work with mothers who have low-risk pregnancies. If at anytime along your pregnancy you run into complications, they will hand over your care to an obstetrician. Same goes for any complications during labor. They always consult with an obstetrician within the practice.

Learn more about the benefits of using a Midwife!

An Obstetrician:

Obstetricians are doctors who complete requirements set by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They graduate from an accredited medical school and complete four years of residency training. They then take an exam for their license to practice.

Obstetricians are specifically trained to care for low-risk and high-risk pregnant woman. High-risk pregnancies that include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, placenta previa or woman needing cesarean sections, and so on. If you have any issues with your pregnancy, you will need to see an Obstetrician from the start- however, this does not mean that you can’t use a Doula! Because remember, Doulas provide you support during your entire labor!

Learn more about Obstetricians!

Our Experience: Why We Chose a Midwife

When I found out that I was pregnant, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to use a midwife! My husband was a little apprehensive about it when I approached him with this idea. Either way, we wanted to get the best possible care and to make sure that everything was okay with the baby during the pregnancy.

Our experience has been nothing but wonderful with our midwives and my husband even said to me “I am so happy we went with the midwives.”

Here are the reasons why we love our midwives so much:

  • We never feel rushed. They spend time with us during each appointment getting to know us.
  • They always answer all of our questions, provide educational material for our questions.
  • If they don’t have an answer, they find the answer for us and make sure that we understand.
  • They walked us through all of the stressful stages of being pregnant and made it easy to understand.
  • They check in on us!! Sometimes they call me just to see how I am feeling, if I need anything, any questions they can answer for us.
  • They are holistic, yet they don’t put pressure on you to be holistic! I mean, they give me options. I love this. This tells me that they are listening to me!

During my pregnancy I heard people say that you can’t use a midwife if you don’t want to have a natural birth. Some areas may be different, so I advice you to check with your midwife group in the area that you live. However, my midwives certainly allow us to use alternative methods to pain relief, such as an epidural. Typically, the delivering professional does not monitor the epidural, an anesthesiologist does, as that is their specialty. They will monitor you and frequently check in on you once you receive the epidural. They will remove it when it’s time. The RN is trained to look for signs of emergency reactions to the epidural while the anesthesiologist is not there and report back to them.

People have also said to me “well what if I need an emergency C-section? I won’t know any of the doctors who perform the surgery because I use a midwife?!” And my answer is simply, “what if you need an emergency surgery on your appendix? You don’t know any of those general surgeons either.”

Whatever type of professional you decide to use, I think it is important to get to know all of them in the group that you see. There are 12 midwives in the group I go to! They rotate me through each one during all of my prenatal appointments. Whoever is on call when I go into labor is the one that will be delivering my baby. Some areas may be different so again, I advice adding this to your list of questions during your initial prenatal visits.

I hope this snip of education helps anyone who was curious about their options! Feel free to leave a comment below about your experience with what type of professional you used for your prenatal care!

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