Depending on your health, your geographical location, and your financial (insurance) options, you will have three basic choices. Two obvious choices for prenatal care providers are obstetricians/gynecologists and midwives. The third option, which is becoming rarer now, is a family practice doctor.
There are many kinds of midwives, and OBGYNs will also vary in the type of service they offer depending on whether they have a private office, or are based at a hospital. In some cases, with high-risk pregnancies especially, the best choice is clearly the care of a gynecologist/obstetrician. But women with a healthy pregnancy will likely be able to choose from whom they prefer to receive care during pregnancy. Here are some questions that may aid you in deciding:
- Do you want ready access to prenatal tests, and do medical check-ups make you feel safe?
- Is it important to you that your prenatal care provider also attends your labor and delivery?
- Is it important to you that your care provider has time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions?
- Do you want to see one provider your entire pregnancy, or do you feel comfortable with rotating care providers in a larger practice?
- Is natural birth and a minimally medical pregnancy important to you?
- Where would you like to deliver your baby?
- Do you have any specific medical problems, either related to pregnancy or preexisting, that require special care?
These questions will help you come to a conclusion as to what care provider would be a good match for you. Once that's out the way, we wish you luck in choosing a specific doctor or midwife!