How to Choose a Pregnancy Care Provider
Before you get pregnant, you’ll want to choose a provider to guide you through your pregnancy.
Any provider you choose will work to foster a collaborative relationship so you feel comfortable talking about all the things that come with pregnancy. Be sure to ask a few key questions when you’re deciding your provider.
What is the provider’s philosophy of childbirth?
- Do you feel comfortable talking freely?
- What is the provider’s experience with high-risk pregnancy?
- Does your insurance cover the provider and the hospital he or she practices at?
You have a few types of providers you can choose from depending on your birthing philosophy.
Obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN)
These are physicians who specialize in both pregnancy and gynecology. Throughout their four years of residency training, they deliver thousands of babies, perform hundreds of cesarean sections and become skilled at managing labors that are normal and perhaps not so normal. Their specialty also focuses on pregnancy complications like preterm labor and high blood pressure.
Family medicine and obstetrics doctor
A family medicine/OB physician can provide care for the entire family, including your newborn, so you have one doctor you know and trust. They are residency-trained and board-certified physicians who specialize in the full spectrum of care for people at any age. Because they have additional training in obstetrics, they also can manage your pregnancy, including medications and complications that may occur. Their services include managing labor and delivery for vaginal births. Depending on your location they can manage or assist with cesarean sections.
Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
Certified nurse midwives are registered nurses (RNs) who have also completed graduate education and training specializing in midwifery. Certified nurse midwives are certified by the state to care for women throughout their lives, including during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They also provide well-woman care.
Another important decision during pregnancy is choosing a provider for your child.