When you find out that you’re expecting, it may feel like you are suddenly flooded with all of these different decisions that need to be made! What should the nursery look like? What type of items do I need to register for? What type of baby monitor should we get? What will our birth plan be?
Within all of these decisions, you’ll need to think about and decide on the type of healthcare provider that you will use for your pregnancy. While some moms-to-be don’t really give this decision much thought, others find this to be one of the most important decisions that they will make.
Choosing a healthcare provider can have a big impact on your entire birthing experience. At the end of the day, you may not be fully in control of how your baby makes his/her appearance, you are in control of who will be there, guiding you every step of the way.
Types of Providers for Pregnancy
Before diving into how to choose a healthcare provider, it’s important to understand your options! The most popular types of healthcare providers for pregnancy and delivery include:
Hospital OBGYNs (Obstetricians and Gynecologists) are the most common type of healthcare provider to monitor your pregnancy and birth. They are trained to handle high-risk pregnancies and unplanned complications, such as emergency c-sections and other surgeries.
Private Practice OBGYN
Similar to an OBGYN at a hospital, private practice OBGYNs have the training and qualifications to handle emergency situations and birth complications. The biggest difference between the two, however, is that many view private practices as having more of a family environment.
Certified-nurse midwives also have their own qualifications, including a degree in nursing, a master’s degree in midwifery, and a certification by the American College of Midwives. Having a midwife is ideal for a woman who desires to have a natural birth, either at home or at a hospital. While they may not be equipped to perform emergency surgeries and procedures, many women hire midwives as their healthcare providers for a more personalized and natural approach to giving birth.
How to Choose a Healthcare Provider
Now that you have a better understanding of what the most popular healthcare providers are when it comes to pregnancy and birth, we’ll be looking at how to choose the one that is right for you.
Every woman is different, has different personal and medical needs, and has different dreams and desires when it comes to giving birth to the most precious gift that they will ever receive. These are the steps you need to take in order to guide you towards your decision of which healthcare provider is best for you…
Unfortunately, deciding on who will guide you through your pregnancy and birth is not an easy feat. The best way to make the right decision for you is to do your homework. Research more in depth about the different options. Research about both the pros and the cons for each type of provider.
Once you start to lean one way or another on a specific type of healthcare provider, you could even start looking around and asking around about specific doctors in your area.
From there, you could research specific birth plan options, their pros and cons, and look for the healthcare provider that offers the services you are looking for. For example, you may not have a hospital OBGYN that provides a space for a water birth. So, if that is something incredibly important to you, you’ll need to look at different types of providers.
At the end of the day, the more you learn about your options, the more equipped and confident you will feel with your decision on who will be guiding you through this unique and wonderful experience.
Develop a Birth Plan
After you’ve done all of your research, you will want to start looking at developing a birth plan. Essentially, a birth plan is an outline of your wants and needs throughout labor and delivery. There are many things to incorporate in your birth plan, but there are some that are absolutely necessary to consider when choosing a healthcare provider…
Do you want to give birth in your home, a birthing center, or a hospital? This decision will have a huge impact on who you choose for your provider. Obviously, a hospital OBGYN will not assist you in an at-home delivery.
Along with where you want to give birth, some specifics of your birth will determine your choice of who is delivering your baby. While hospitals respect your decision to use an epidural or have the child unmedicated, they may not have the facilities for a water birth. On the flip side, if you decide on a home birth, the use of an epidural will not be an available option.
It’s important to consider the specifics of your birthing plan to see how they impact your choice of a healthcare provider.
Learn from Others’ Experiences
Along with research, talking with other mamas about their experiences can make a huge impact on your ultimate decision. Of course, research is essential to gather the necessary facts and information about the different types of birthing experiences, there’s nothing like hearing about an experience firsthand.
Take time to seek out moms who have had different birthing experiences. Ask them important questions. Learn from their birthing stories, and use this information to help your decision.
Chances are, if you’ve found a specific doctor or midwife that you’re interested in using, you can find a few women who have used that same person. Learning from others’ experiences is a great way to get more specific information to help guide your decision.
Talk with your Spouse
While your spouse may not be the one actually giving birth, it’s important to give them a voice in this decision. Despite the fact that they aren’t the ones physically experiencing this, they will ideally be there with you every step of the way. It’s crucial to know and understand what options they are comfortable with and what options make them uneasy.
For example, if you have signs of health challenges or small complications throughout the early stages of your pregnancy, it may make your spouse incredibly uneasy at the thought of a home birth. They may feel more comfortable with you trying to have a natural, unmedicated birth at the hospital just in case you or the baby needs medication or immediate intervention.
At the end of the day, you really do want your spouse to be 100% present and supportive throughout your labor and delivery.
Pray About It
Lastly, and most importantly, pray. After you’ve gathered all of the information, weighed the different options, pray about being led to the right decision. God knows what is best for you, your baby, and your new little family. Trust in Him and trust Him to provide you with the right decision, and it will all workout.
Deciding on a healthcare provider for your labor and delivery is a big decision. Just remember that at the end of the day, the most important plan is that your baby arrives with the both of you healthy. Your birth plan may change, and that’s okay. Just like in life, not everything will go according to plan, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be ready for anything!
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