In order to foster a positive birth experience, one where you feel cared for and well supported, you must find your place in the drivers seat. Taking charge is key to ensuring that your unique needs are desires are listened to and met. This blog is a good starting place, it will go over the different types of providers as well as the various places to give birth. If you need more help with finding a provider, a place for birthing your baby, or even just to help you sort through your options shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
OB or Midwife: What’s the difference?
An OB (Obstetrician) is a doctor that specializes in caring for a person through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. They are trained and often experienced in a wide variety of perinatal situations. OB's are also trained in surgical births, whereas midwives are not.
A Midwife is professionally trained to care for a person perinatally. There are different types of midwives. A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is the midwife you will find in a hospital and birth center. A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is often the midwife you will have with you during a homebirth. They each have different types of training and both care for lower risk pregnancies.
Places to Give Birth: You mean I can birth outside of the hospital?!
If you want to, yes! Depending on your local area and the laws in your state, you have options! Here in Middle Tennessee we are fortunate to have several hospitals to choose from, a couple birth centers, and a decent amount of homebirth midwives.
When choosing where to deliver your baby, you will need to keep in mind that some pregnancies and births will need the specialized care of an OB and access to medical equipment, thus a needing hospital birth.
Another important thing to keep in mind is pain management, this looks a little different for out of hospital births. For common pain medication used during labor and birth, this will require being a hospital setting. In the case of having freedom of movement, which is a common piece of comfort during unmedicated labors. This is often an option in all birthing places, but you may want to ask just to be on the safe side.
Care Providers: How do I pick the right one?
I always recommend interviewing a few different providers to find one you feel comfortable with. Ask all the questions, don’t hesitate to ask all of your questions. This really helps you discover more about the provider (and them about you), which can tell you a lot about how supportive they will be of your pregnancy and birth goals.
Some examples are:
How much experience do you have supporting unmedicated birth?
What is your cesarean rate?
How you feel about your patients going to 42 weeks?
Will you allow me to have an elective induction at 39 weeks, if I want it?
How soon can I get an epidural in labor?
You may not have a lot of questions just yet and that’s okay! During the interview share any hopes or worries that you may have. This interview is especially important if you have a particular history such as a previous cesarean and you are planning for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Be sure to ask specific questions related to your situation and the outcome you would like to see happen.
I hope this inspires your confidence and helps you find the best pregnancy provider!