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Gynecologist and obstetrician: choosing a skilled obstetrician and gynecologist


Gynecologist and obstetrician: choosing a skilled obstetrician and gynecologist

Gynecologist and obstetrician: choosing a skilled obstetrician and gynecologist

Contents of the article

  • First, think about the type of birth you would prefer:
  • the doctors
  • Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Nursing practitioners
  • Questions and answers
  • Hospitals and birth centers


You may have thought a lot about looking for a skilled health care provider for your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. You may have made an appointment or visited someone. Whatever the situation, you must be in safe hands. It is this person with whom, over the next several months, you will make the most important decisions in your life (and your child's life). How do you find someone you trust and feel comfortable with?

First, think about the type of birth you would prefer:

  • Do you want to give birth at home or in the hospital?
  • Do you want your health care provider to speed up your labor with drugs or do you want to let it start normally?
  • Would you like to have some pain reliever available for you?

Your answers to these questions can help you decide which of the three types of antenatal care provider you want to work with:

  • Attending physician (also called a physician, obstetrician-gynecologist, or obstetrician-gynecologist), or
  • Nursing practitioner, or
  • A certified nurse midwife.

the doctors

Doctors are the most acceptable choice in the United States. Nine out of 10 women choose a doctor — whether it's an obstetrician or a family doctor — for antenatal and delivery care. Obstetricians and gynecologists receive four years of specialized training after medical school, and they deal only with women's health, pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetricians and gynecologists are trained to handle any emergency that may occur during labor, including the need for a cesarean delivery. Family doctors get at least three years of training after medical school, but they treat the whole family for all medical conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth. Most doctors deliver in hospitals.

Certified Nurse Midwives

About 7 percent of women in the United States turn to certified nurse-midwives who are specially trained in women's health, prenatal care and childbirth. Certified nurse-midwives are nurses who hold a master's or doctoral degree. A certified nurse midwife not only provides prenatal care, but also delivers the baby. What are the advantages of certified nurse-midwives that make them better than doctors? Most of the advantages are due to differences in childbirth philosophies. Most certified nurse-midwives argue that because pregnancy and childbirth are normal events in a woman's life, a woman who is pregnant or in labor does not need any medical interventions. Certified nurse-midwives do not use any drugs to induce labor, generally do not believe intravenous fluids are necessary during labor, encourage women to use whatever position they want for labor and delivery, and support family members' participation in childbirth. In the event of any complications, they refer the patient to a doctor (all certified nurse-midwives have physician referral arrangements). Certified nurse-midwives work in hospitals and birthing centers, and some help deliver at home.

Nursing practitioners

Nursing practitioners are specially trained in women's health. They are licensed to provide prenatal and female care, but they do not deliver. Nurse practitioners usually work in clinics with doctors or certified nurse-midwives, and attend the birth process from them. You can learn more about nursing practitioners on the American Association of Nurse Practitioners website .

Questions and answers

Once you have decided which health care provider is best for your needs, you can start your research by asking friends about their experiences. Although choosing a provider is a personal effort, recommendations from people you trust are a great starting point.

Your next starting point should be to make appointments with potential health service providers and ask them about their philosophies in childbirth. Why is this important? Some women feel very strong feelings about certain aspects of their birth: they may not want to undergo an episiotomy (which is an incision next to the vagina to give your baby more space to exit), for example, or they may want their other children to be present. If you have strong wishes about the birth of your baby, you should look for a caregiver who can fulfill those desires - labor is no longer the time to know that your health care provider has a different birth philosophy than yours! Also, try to find out if your caregiver has medical partners, and if so, what their philosophies about childbirth are. Most caregivers have partners, otherwise doctors have to be available 24/7! You may end up being born by one of the partners.

Hospitals and birth centers

Ask your caregiver which hospital or birthing center to use, and learn about the policies for that location. Hospitals have rules about who can be present during the birth, whether pictures can be taken, and whether your baby can stay with you rather than in a nursery behind sheets of glass. Also, keep in mind that any caregiver only enters their patients into specific hospitals or birthing centers, so if you want to enter a specific medical facility, be sure to ask potential caregivers whether or not they are giving birth there.

The best way to get to know the right person is to read as often as possible and ask questions as much as possible so that you feel reassured that you have chosen a professional partner.




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