Choosing Your Practitioner

Baby Steps
Now that you’re pregnant, the first major decision you must make is choosing the correct health practitioner to assist you in the pregnancy and birth process. This decision may seem somewhat overwhelming but the trick is choosing a practitioner that is compatible with your needs and beliefs.

Decide What Kind of Practitioner You Want
What kind of practitioner you choose will determine whether the practitioner assumes most pregnancy-concerned decisions or whether those questions will be decided between you and your partner. A midwife, for example, will offer information but leave the decisions up to you. A doctor may make a more unilateral decision based on your wellbeing. You may find that you lie slightly between these two groups and would like to make some of the childbirth decisions while allowing the practitioner to use her expertise to make the medically challenging decisions.

To help you answer these questions about your preference, visit our sections on ob-gyns, family practitioners and midwives.

Finding ‘The One’
After you decide what type of practitioner you want, the final step is finding a suitable candidate. Finding the right practitioner can sometimes feel as complicated as finding your mate. In the vast sea of available practitioners, how do you choose the one for you? Don’t look in the yellow pages; work your contacts!

Ask your gynecologist or family practitioner if they offer the services you require or if they could recommend someone to you. Talk to friends who have had babies; they can often offer recommendations or advice on different practitioners. Also, most hospitals have lists of the attending physicians. Lastly, the internet itself is a good source.

From Conception to Birth
Choosing a practitioner goes beyond deciding what type of doctor you want and finding one from among that field that you’re comfortable with; it also involves finding a doctor that has privileges at a hospital you want to give birth at. All midwives and OB-GYNs have privileges to one hospital, so be sure that you want to give birth at that specific hospital. If your FP has an office outside a hospital, be sure that he has privileges to a hospital as well so that he can accompany you at birth.

Because your practitioner will get to know the dynamics of your situation through your pregnancy, it’s important to have that practitioner helping you through labor and delivery.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD