Family Physicians care for clients throughout the life span. They tend to fall between Obstetricians and Midwives both in terms of the level of medical care they provide (they are doctors but not surgeons) and their philosophy about birth (like midwives, most consider it to be a normal, physiological process). You should consider birthing with a Family Practice Doctor if you are “low risk,” though there are many conditions that are labeled “high risk” that Family Practice Doctors would be able to help you manage.
Further reading on this topic:
Family medicine is a three-dimensional specialty, incorporating
Although knowledge and skill may be shared with other specialties, the family medicine process is unique. At the center of this process is the patient-physician relationship with the patient viewed in the context of the family. It is the extent to which this relationship is valued, developed, nurtured and maintained that distinguishes family medicine from all other specialties. Maternal/child care is integral to the discipline of family medicine. All family physicians are trained in the care of pregnancy and common pregnancy problems.
Here are some suggested questions to encourage dialogue and help you get a sense of your care provider’s approach. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 to 3 providers. It is never too late to change providers if you are not comfortable with the answers you receive.
This is a compilation of federal laws on a variety of topics relevant to maternity care and rights including:
• Respect and Nondiscrimination
• Consistent and Timely Treatment
• Maternity Leave
• Informed Decision Making
• Maternity Information Act
• Insurance Coverage for Home Birth, and
The information is adapted from various texts and is not intended to be legal advice.
Thanks to a groundbreaking new consumer resource called The Birth Survey, women and families now have an additional tool to help them make maternity care decisions that are right for their individual needs. Like Angie’s List or Consumer Reports, The Birth Survey helps people evaluate the goods and services they are shopping for, in this case, maternity care. The Birth Survey was created by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and piloted in New York City by Choices in Childbirth.
Alice laboring in shower © Shara Frederick