So you’ve decided you're ready to expand your family. Congrats! You've figured out the what; and we're going to assume that you're familiar with the how. What’s up next? Deciding who will help bring your bundle of joy into the world.

WHO CAN HELP

OBSTETRICIAN

These physicians specialize in taking care of pregnant women, from conception through postpartum. They are there to monitor the health of the mom and the baby, to actively manage labor and to address any health issues that may arise.

Why choose an OB:

• They are trained to handle complications during pregnancy and birth such as preeclampsia or placenta previa.

• They can perform a Cesarean section, if needed, during labor.

Why not to choose an OB:

• If you do not want to deliver at a hospital.

• There might be a higher possibility of induction or episiotomy. (You should always know your OB’s position on these procedures; some doctors will do their best to avoid them unless medically necessary.)

Notes:

• Choose someone you really like and feel comfortable with because you will see a lot of her/him during those nine months.

• Make sure you like the hospital your doctor is affiliated with when you choose your OB

Learn more on the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists official site.

MIDWIFE

Midwives (women or men) are trained professionals who can provide prenatal care to expecting mothers, assist in the birth, and offer postpartum care as well. Their role is to assist in the entire birthing process but not to intervene unless necessary.

Why choose a midwife:

• If you are at low risk and want more of a natural birth.

• If you want to give birth at home or in a birth center.

• If you want to minimize technological interventions.

Why not to choose a midwife:

• If you have a high risk pregnancy.

• Because potential complications could arise that require medical help.

Notes:

• Often they work side-by-side with, and complement, your obstetrician.

• Every midwife is different, so when interviewing, be sure to ask what her or his services include.

• Some are trained certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), while others are midwives without being a nurse, such as a certified professional midwife or a direct-entry midwife. A nurse-midwife will provide the most comprehensive care.

• Check their qualifications and experience before you choose one.

Learn more on the Midwives Alliance of North America official site.

DOULA

She’s there just for you, mama. A doula’s role is to “mother the mother," taking care of her emotional needs, as well as helping the partner learn ways to support the laboring woman. They assist with non-medical needs such as reassurance, encouragement and comfort.

Why choose a doula:

• To enhance the labor experience.

• To assist the partner with labor coaching (helping to ease the stress on the partner).

• Making mom comfortable with massage techniques.

Why not to choose a doula:

• If you want a private experience with your partner during labor.

• If you already have a “doula” in your partner.

Notes:

• DONA International cites clinical studies claiming that having a doula during birth often results in shorter labors with fewer complications and can reduce the need for pain medication, Pitocin (labor-inducing drug) or Cesarean sections.

• After birth, a postpartum doula can help by supplying emotional support to the new mom, providing a smooth transition during those first days or weeks with a newborn.

This article was reviewed by Anthony Chin, MD. Dr. Chin is an OB/GYN in Beverly Hills, California.
As originally published by The Cradle