How to Choose the Right Health Care Provider for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Pregnancy comes with a lot of choices. From what you’re going to name your child to feeding, diapering and clothing options galore, the options for almost everything seem endless. Although some decisions will be more important than others, they all play a vital role in your child’s development.

One of the most important (and first!) choices you should make, even before conception, is exactly what type of health care provider you’ll choose to support you through pregnancy and childbirth.

Choosing a provider may seem straightforward, especially if you’re running with the recommendation of your primary care provider. However, exploring your options and selecting the type of provider you think is best for you and your family is key to a successful and involved pregnancy and postpartum experience.

At HRPC, we understand that who you choose will ultimately help you make crucial and informed decisions on the health of you and your child throughout your pregnancy journey.

Let’s explore the types of providers in more detail, including their specific areas of expertise.

Maternity Providers Options

Type Specialty Area
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Midwives are trained gynecological professionals who can help in an array of areas, from exams to deliveries. Most often, midwives are considered the more holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth They take a wellness-focused approach to all aspects of pregnancy, labor and delivery.

A midwife typically works best for those who are considered healthy and have no pregnancy complications or preexisting conditions.

A midwife can only aid in vaginal births, not cesarean sections, but can partner with OBGYNs to handle all aspects of your pregnancy and childbirth collaboratively.

They can also provide women’s health care outside of pregnancy.

Obstetrician / Gynecologist (OBGYN) An OBGYN is a professional medical doctor with extensive education and training in the specialized care of pregnant women.

They can handle all aspects of women’s health, including

•  Gynecological exams
•  Conception
•  Management of preexisting conditions
•  Diagnosis and management of medical conditions in pregnancy
•  Vaginal and cesarean births
•  Long-term postpartum care

An OBGYN can help in the diagnosis and management of high-risk pregnancy conditions and complications alongside a high-risk pregnancy provider.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Doctor MFM doctors, or perinatologists, are OB-GYNs who have undergone specialty training and extended education to manage all types of high-risk pregnancies.

An MFM doctor
•  Provides personalized recommendations for care
•  Monitors a mother closely during pregnancy based on her at-risk issues
•  Oversees and initiates any testing or treatment for the mother and baby throughout pregnancy and into postpartum care
•  Handles advanced imaging or genetic testing
•  Effectively manages high-risk pregnancies in conjunction with an OBGYN


Understand Your Needs to Choose the Right Prenatal and Postpartum Provider

Every pregnancy is different. Before you decide on a provider, you must understand precisely what you’ll need during your conception, pregnancy and postpartum care stages.

While it is standard to see your provider for wellness and growth checks throughout your pregnancy, you may also need a provider who specializes in understanding and working with a preexisting health condition or one that can effectively care for high-risk pregnancies to lower your risk of complications.

It is important to note that many women require more than one provider to help them throughout their journey. By choosing a primary maternity provider, like a midwife or OBGYN, you can be seen regularly for wellness visits while also connecting with a group of specialists, like an MFM, based on your unique health needs.

Don’t feel the need to jump into a provider. We encourage you to take your time and explore all options before making a final, informed decision.

High-Risk Pregnancy Care You Can Trust

If you’ve been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, have been told that you are at risk for complications during pregnancy, or are living with preexisting conditions that should be monitored before conception and throughout pregnancy and postpartum, an MFM specialist may be the best option for you. Look at our pregnancy risk calculator (please include link)

You don’t have to navigate the risks of a high-risk pregnancy alone. Contact us today to learn more and choose an MFM doctor that is right for you and your child throughout all stages of conception, pregnancy, and postpartum care.