Now that you're pregnant, it's time to make some decisions. First on the list—deciding who will deliver your baby! Pregnant women are faced with numerous decisions during pregnancy and childbirth, and having the right practitioner can help a woman feel confident in her decisions and safe in her pregnancy. Do you want an ob gyn or a certified nurse midwife?
While there are more options now than ever before, the majority of babies born in the US are delivered by obstetricians. They are trained to handle every conceivable complication of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and are probably the safest choice for a high risk pregnancy. It is also very common for women whose pregnancies are routine and free of complications to use an obstetrician—80% of American women choose to take this route. Your current gynecologist may also be an obstetrician, and that's a great option if you feel comfortable with her already.
If you need to find a ob gyn, word-of-mouth is generally the best way to find one who will most likely share the same ideas and beliefs as you during this important time. Ask friends or relatives who have recently given birth if they would recommend their practitioner and why. You can also ask a childbirth educator or another healthcare provider for recommendations.
The certified nurse midwife is most likely to focus on you as a person rather than as a patient, and will encourage you and educate you on natural childbirth. She is trained to attend uncomplicated births and will decide on a case-by-case basis if your pregnancy is likely to have complications that would make delivery outside of a medical facility dangerous.
Before deciding on your ob gyn or certified nurse midwife, you might want to ask these questions:
1. When does she think a C-section is warranted? What is her C-section rate?
2. How often and under what circumstances does she perform an episiotomy?
3. Do you like her bedside manner? Are you comfortable asking her questions?
4. What hospital does she deliver at?
5. Is her office and the hospital where she delivers convenient to your home?
6. Is she in a group practice or will she be the one to deliver your baby?
7. Does your insurance plan cover this provider?
Even after you decide on an ob gym or a certified nurse midwife, you can generally change your mind. But you're better off doing your research first!