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If you haven’t had kids before – or even if you have – you’ll quickly realize that pregnancy is full of choices. Some choices are small, like finding a crib or picking out clothes. Other choices are bigger, like considering daycare options and choosing a name. And one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is picking the right person to see for pregnancy care.

In most cases, you’ll see either an OB-GYN doctor or a certified nurse-midwife. Both offer personalized answers to help you understand how to prepare for what’s ahead. But you’ll probably find that one or the other feels like a better match for you and your new baby.

If you’re still deciding who to choose for your pregnancy care and childbirth, here’s what you can expect if you choose an OB-GYN.

What do OB-GYNs do?

You might already know OB-GYNs as the go-to doctors for women’s health care. They focus on all sorts of care, like annual visits, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings, breast exams, heavy periods, birth control and any type of gynecologic concern.

Obstetrics (the OB part of the name) is the specialty branch of medicine focused on helping women with guided treatments throughout their pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period. OB-GYNs are experts on everything that’s routine when you’re expecting, and also everything that’s not.

What do OB-GYNs do during pregnancy?

OB-GYNs focus on your overall well-being throughout your pregnancy. They draw from the latest in evidence-based medicine, using their experience to offer tailored care based on each stage of pregnancy.

With an OB-GYN, you can expect monthly, biweekly and then weekly prenatal visits to track your baby’s growth as delivery day approaches. Your OB-GYN usually partners with a nurse practitioner, and your care team will monitor your baby’s heartbeat and growth as well as answer any questions you might have.

In addition, OB-GYNs are familiar with complex pregnancy and delivery challenges. They’re well equipped to manage your care no matter what.

What will delivery day be like with an OB-GYN?

You’ll deliver at a hospital or an attached birth center. An OB-GYN will coordinate your care team, which will include nurses, plus other specialists if needed. It’s important to note that while an OB-GYN will deliver your baby, they’ll usually rely on their care team to monitor your labor and let them know when the big moment is getting close.

OB-GYNs will also explain your options for using common birth interventions that aid delivery for many mothers. For example, they’ll let you know what to expect if you choose an epidural (anesthesia for pain relief) or have an induced labor. They also perform C-sections and other procedures if complications arise.

How do I know if an OB-GYN is right for my pregnancy care?

An OB-GYN might be the right choice for your pregnancy care if:

  • You have a preexisting medical condition
  • You have a complex pregnancy
  • You’d prefer a doctor who’s expertly trained in providing medical and surgical interventions when necessary during labor and birth

If you do choose an OB-GYN for your pregnancy, keep in mind that your relationship with your OB-GYN doesn’t have to end after your baby arrives. Beyond postpartum counseling, our OB-GYNs provide ongoing care so you can stay healthy throughout all stages of your life. You’ll be in a great position to take control of your health care now and in the future. Plus, if you choose OB-GYN pregnancy care and you already have a relationship with an OB-GYN practice, in most cases you can continue to see your same care team.

Whether you decide to go with an OB-GYN or decide that choosing a midwife for your pregnancy is best for you, you’ll be working with a certified professional focused on getting you the best care possible.

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