Women should also be able to choose what type of health care provider they would like to deliver their baby. An obstetrician-gynecologist (OB) is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of pregnant women and in delivering babies. Obstetricians also have special training in surgery so they are capable of doing episiotomies and cesarean sections.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women who have health problems or pregnancy complications should see an obstetrician. A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) and a certified professional midwife (CPM) specialize in prenatal care, labor, and delivery.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both can be a good option for healthy women at low-risk for problems during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. A CNM need not have experience delivering babies in home settings and most practice in hospitals and birth centers. A CPM is required to have experience delivering babies in home settings because most practice in homes and birthing centers. Both should have a back-up arrangement with an obstetrician in case of a problem or emergency.
Nowadays, some women also choose to have a doula assist with labor and delivery. A doula is defined as a professional labor coach who gives physical and emotional support to women during labor and delivery. They are known to offer advice on breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning. Doulas also give continuous emotional support and comfort to women and their partners during labor and birth. Doulas and midwives often work together during a woman’s labor.
Check with your health insurance company to find out if they will cover the cost of a doula. When choosing a doula, find out if she is certified by Doulas of North America (DONA) or a comparable group.