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Team Players: Guidelines For Choosing Your Doctor Or Midwife:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Today’s moms and dads have many choices when it comes to the birth of their baby. From natural birth, to underwater and home birth the options are endless, as long as they are safe, and practical. Traditional deliveries may or may not be a “thing of the past” depending on what you (both) decide is right for you. Among the most major decisions (besides what to name your child) is choosing HOW you are going to deliver and where, and most importantly who you want right there by your side. Your doctor or midwife is not just there to scream push every so often, but key players through your experience, and it’s imperative that you like, trust, and have confidence in him/her. How do you know how to choose the right person for the job? Well, according to professionals, it’s as simple as following the following recommendations.

Doctor or Midwife? Knowing And Understanding The Difference:

· Ob-Gyn (stands for obstetrician/gynecologist). These medical practitioners specialize in women’s reproductive health and care. The have attended and completed medical school, as well as, specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology. A certified Ob-Gym would also have had to pass sever written and oral examinations, and are generally members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. As a rule of thumb, they deliver babies in hospitals and can range in their views (about delivery and childcare) from conservative to extremely open-minded, especially with regard to what goes on in the delivery room.

· Certified nurse-midwives (CNMS), are usually known as simply midwives, and refer to a special group of registered nurses with training in the arena of women’s health and normal low-risk pregnancies. Additionally, most have completed a program in nurse-midwifery (or a Master’s program) accredited by or having pre-accreditation status from the Division of Accreditation of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. In order to receive certification they must furthermore pass a national exam and maintain an active nursing license. Generally speaking, midwives handle low-tech, personalized childbirth, with a concentration on preparation, care, and education. They are qualified to deliver infants in the hospital, a birthing center, or in the parents’ home, and should have coactive arrangements with a medical doctor in case of emergency or complication. You should make sure to find out and clearly understand and be comfortable with what those arrangements are.

· FPs or Family practitioners are doctors similar to the traditional family doctor and usually offer basic medical care for a variety of conditions. Most FPs complete medical school and go on to receive specialized training in family medicine including obstetrics, and are required to pass a certification exam. They are well-prepared and trained to offer care for normal, low-risk pregnancies and deliveries.

Finding Someone You Can Trust:

· Do your research online

· Make inquiries of friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, anyone who has recently given birth. (Cross reference with the net if possible)

· Ask you family doctor

· Get references from your hospital or birthing center of choice.


Things To Think About:

· Location, location, location. Make sure your doctor or midwife, plus the facility he/she is affiliated with is close to your job or home. Remember, when you are pregnant, convenience is key.

· Think policy, insurance policy that is, what is covered and which practitioners are covered by your plan. The professional you choose should ideally be someone you trust, are comfortable with AND that’s part of your plan. Remember, some companies have specific rules about midwives, but make sure you check first.

· Do a thorough check. Make sure you get at least three references for each practitioner you are considering. You can secure referenced from your current health care provider, previous patients, city or county health and medical societies, hospital referral programs, even staff at birthing centers.

· Consider “Quality” and check out his/her credentials. Look into the educational background of each doctor of midwife. If you plan on using a “group” check each individuals credentials individually. Look into not only schools attended, and grades received, but also look into affirming his/her bedside manner (you may want to do that via references).

· Make sure the doctor or midwife you choose isn’t one that’s been cited for behaving badly. Find out if he or she has been disciplined for medical malpractice. Contact your state licensing agency and inquire about any actions filed against your chosen practitioner.

Qualifying Questions To Ask:

· How often is it recommended that you been seen (by your doctor)?

· Is there someone to address questions round the clock? Who is that person? What are his/her qualifications?

· What are the standard tests recommended? Are there any specialized tests you would suggest for me, what are they and why?

· Who will deliver my baby? Will it be you or is there the possibility that another doctor could replace you in the delivery room? Can I meet the other doctor who may deliver my child?

· Does the hospital I’ll be delivering in have any special maternity amenities such as birthing rooms, rooming-in for the baby, or a neo-natal intensive care unit?

· How do you feel about medication-free childbirth?

· How do you feel about epidurals, and at what stage of labor would you use one?

· What are your thoughts and feelings about inducing labor?

· How often do you perform cesarean deliveries?

· Can you please explain your preferences and standard practices for labor and birth?

· What are your thoughts and feelings about breast-feeding?

· What are the fees involved? Do they include lab fees? How and when do you expect payment?


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