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Your Birth Team
The health care provider you select will significantly influence your birth experience. Choose wisely.
Your care provider offers insight, helps shape your birth plan, and facilitates the birth experience. He or she will be a powerful presence, and his or her methods will guide how your experience unfolds. Consider hiring professional labor support to guide you and your partner through labor and birth.
When selecting a provider, take your time and trust your instincts. Interview every candidate to ensure that you’re a good match and ask questions about his or her approach to birth. You’ll want make your own priorities clear, as well. A care provider is only a good choice if you feel confident that he or she has demonstrated skill, use interventions that match your philosophy, and will respect your birth plan and wishes. Once you’re in labor, you won’t be able to convince your provider to operate against his or her birth philosophy.
If you’re ready to create your ideal birth team, browse mother-friendly obstetricians, midwives, family physicians, and doulas on the CIC Provider Network.
Midwife – Midwives are trained professionals with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and have optimal births and recoveries during the postpartum period. Midwives provide women with individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. Midwifery is a woman-centered, empowering model of maternity care and may be practiced in hospitals, birthing centers and home settings. In the United States there are several pathways to midwifery education and training. (Visit Midwives Alliance of North America for definitions of the types of midwives practicing in the United States, and state-by-state laws.)
Source: Midwives Alliance of North America
OB/GYN – Obstetricians and Gynecologists are physicians who, by virtue of satisfactory completion of an accredited program of graduate medical education, possess special knowledge, skills and professional capability in the medical and surgical care of women related to pregnancy and disorders of the female reproductive system. OB/GYNs provide primary and preventive care for women and serve as consultants to other health care professionals. Most OB/GYNs are generalists and see a variety of medical conditions in the office, perform surgery, and manage labor and delivery.
Source: American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Family Physician – Family physicians, through education and residency training, possess distinct attitudes, skills, and knowledge which qualify them to provide continuing and comprehensive medical care, health maintenance and preventive services to each member of the family regardless of sex, age, or type of problem, be it biological, behavioral, or social. These specialists, because of their background and interactions with the family, are best qualified to serve as each patient’s advocate in all health-related matters, including the appropriate use of consultants, health services, and community resources. Some family practitioners care for low-risk pregnant patients, similar to midwives, and may refer pregnant patients with significant problems to an OB/GYN.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Doula – The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
Source: DONA International