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How to choose a doctor or midwife after finding out you’re pregnant

You’re about to experience changes to your body, family and life as a whole. You need the right professionals by your side.

July 18, 2017

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You’ve gone through all the test sticks in the box, and those little lines keep staring back at you. It’s confirmed: you’re pregnant! First come a mix of emotions ranging from completely thrilled to terrified. Then come the questions:

“How will I tell my family and friends?” “Am I having a boy or a girl?” “What do I do next?”

One of the most important next steps is deciding who will care for you throughout your pregnancy and during your labor and delivery.

“You want a trusted, reliable partner who can help you navigate your pregnancy with care and compassion,” says Charlie Lais, MD. “This is a very personal decision to make. It’s important to know your options.”

Dr. Lais is the medical director for HealthPartners’ OB-GYN department. Here he answers some questions that newly pregnant moms often have:

What’s an OB-GYN?

An OB-GYN is a doctor who cares for women during their pregnancies and delivers babies. OB-GYNs have completed four years of medical school, a four-year residency program and a three-year fellowship. You may already visit an OB-GYN for your annual well woman’s care visit.

What’s a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Many women choose to visit midwives for care during their pregnancies and for their deliveries. Certified nurse midwives have master’s or doctorate degrees in nursing. They have also received their board certification in midwifery. They work closely with the rest of your health care team (OB-GYN, family medicine doctor) to meet your needs during your pregnancy. Many women continue visiting midwives after their delivery, too. Midwives can also help with health care services like annual checkups, birth control and menopause care.

OB-GYNs vs. Certified Nurse Midwifes

Is there anyone else I can see during my pregnancy?

Yes. There are other health care team members who will support you, such as:

  • A family medicine doctor – You may be able to continue seeing your family medicine doctor for care during your pregnancy and delivery. Check with your doctor to find out more.
  • A doula – Doulas are trained professionals who provide physical, emotional and informational support throughout the birth and postpartum experience.

What should I ask my doctor or certified nurse-midwife at my first appointment?

Your first appointment can be exciting and stressful! Here are a few questions to help:

  • What foods can I eat?
  • How do I handle morning sickness?
  • Can I continue exercising?
  • How often will I see you throughout my pregnancy?
  • Who will deliver my baby? Often the OB-GYN or Certified Nurse Midwife you see during your pregnancy won’t be the one delivering your baby when you arrive at the hospital or birthing center.

Will costs differ depending on who I get care from?

Costs vary based on where you deliver and what type of delivery you have, not on who delivers your baby. It all depends on your health insurance plan. Chances are, not every hospital or birthing center is included in your specific policy. Likewise, there are different insurance coverage levels associated with C-sections and vaginal deliveries.

It’s best to check with your health plan to understand your individual policy. There’s no such thing as a silly question. Member services representatives are there to answer exactly these types of calls.

If you have HealthPartners insurance, you can log into your HealthPartners online account. Or, call Member Services at the number on the back of your member ID card.

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