If you have no idea where to begin with prenatal care, it’s time to ask yourself some basic medical questions.
- Are you physically & mentally healthy?
Do you have a family history of healthy pregnancies and births?
If so, you may want to look into the many benefits of midwife-directed prenatal care and the possibility of birthing at home or in a birthing center:
- less invasive stressful medical tests
- longer more personal appointments
- prenatal care typically occurs in the comfort of your or the midwife’s home
- midwives, birthing centers & home births cost significantly less than hospitals or obstetricians & other MDs
- significantly less risk of c-section
- a gentler more personal and holistic view of pregnancy, labor & birth
- critical post-natal visits for the first six weeks to ensure mother and baby are healthy and breastfeeding is commencing successfully
You may want to forego midwife-guided care for prenatal care from an obstetrician-gynecologist if any of the following apply to you:
- a previous high-risk pregnancy
- chronic / long-term illness
- mental illness
- a recent or ongoing drug addiction
- high blood pressure / heart problems
- you’re 40 years of age or older
In these cases, you may feel more comfortable with an obstetrician-gynecologist or general practitioner who can monitor your pregnancy more closely via ultrasound and specific medical tests which can detect less obvious issues that might develop during the course of your pregnancy.
TIP: Start by defining your birth philosophy and such issues as whether you want to give birth at home, in a birthing center, or in a hospital and how you'd like labor to go in terms of pain management, mobility and other interventions.
Once you've outlined your basic birth philosophy, choosing a caregiver becomes more obvious. You can begin your internet search for candidates in your area (and hopefully find some reviews). After establishing phone contact, you can set up a meeting for an initial interview to see if your birth philosophy aligns with their practices.