Whether you are still waiting for a positive home pregnancy test or counting down the days to your due date, you have probably given some considerable thought to just exactly who will be there to assist you at the birth of your newest addition to the family. For many in the United States, the only option presented is a physician. Increasingly, certified nurse-midwives are used for births in hospitals, birthing centers, and even in private homes. Choosing which provider would be the best fit for your birth is not as hard as you may think. The most important factors to consider are the location for delivery, predictable pregnancy complications and risks, and your personality fit with the provider.

Where will you give birth?

First, consider where you will give birth. Typically, physicians only care for patients in hospitals. Midwives attend deliveries in hospitals, birthing centers, and private homes.

What things can limit your choices?

The second consideration can also affect where the birth will take place. That is your known pregnancy risk. Obviously, complications are unpredictable in any pregnancy, labor, and birth. However, some conditions are considered “high-risk” and generally mean that you should birth at a hospital, and not a birthing center or your home. These conditions are varied and you should discuss them with your provider. A brief list includes multiple babies (triplet pregnancy or higher-order,) severe or uncontrolled diabetes, multiple prior c-sections, severe asthma, or known issues with the baby that require immediate evaluation or surgery at the time of birth.

Medical or midwifery model of care?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, choosing the provider for your birth should be based on your personality and comfort level. Physicians obviously come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. However, most physicians approach pregnancy, and especially labor and birth from an attitude of preventing all possible risks. Physicians will typically do everything necessary to try to prevent any possible bad outcome, essentially acting from a defensive posture. Most midwives, however, typically approach labor and birth with the attitude that natural processes occur safely, and neither special interventions nor continuous monitoring is necessary for uncomplicated labor and birth for a low-risk patient. You will be the best judge of which philosophy fits your personality, comfort level, and previous experiences.

Make an educated decision.

Whatever you choose for your pregnancy and birthing plans, do not let fear be a deciding factor. Every health care provider is committed to the safety of you and your child, and every midwife has a detailed plan of action to deal with emergencies, including transfer to a hospital and emergency operative care by a physician if needed. When you make an informed decision about choosing your provider for childbirth, it will mean the best possible outcome for you and your baby. Contact us today for more information about your pregnancy and birth.

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