Explore different types of pregnancy care options

While planning for pregnancy, assemble a team that’s right for you

Explore different types of pregnancy care options

When researching where to go for your pregnancy care, there is a lot to consider. It’s important to look for somewhere that will provide safe, evidence-based options and a team that can support you throughout the whole process. Start your research by asking the questions below.

Who is going to provide my care?

You have options when it comes to choosing who will be caring for you throughout your pregnancy. Choosing a health care system where OB/GYNs, family medicine providers, midwives and other specialists work together through collaboration, connection and referrals means your care team will ensure your needs and preferences are met throughout your pregnancy journey.

Each type of provider offers a slightly different take on pregnancy care. Depending on your needs and preferences, one of the options below might be a great fit for you.

Obstetrician/gynecologists, or OB/GYNs, are trained in both obstetrics and gynecology, making them experts in women’s health. Obstetrics includes pregnancy care while gynecology involves care for all women’s health issues. Additionally, OB/GYNs have surgical expertise and can provide cesarean sections.

Family medicine providers care for all family members, from babies to seniors, and can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. Over time, family medicine providers get to know you well and understand all aspects of your health. For some, this adds another level of comfort and trust throughout their pregnancy care since they can also care for your new baby. Be sure to confirm that your family medicine provider offers prenatal care and will deliver babies.

Midwives take a holistic approach to women’s health care. Their philosophy focuses on educating patients and encouraging them to make choices for themselves. Typically, they will see women with low-risk pregnancies. Some people may be surprised to learn that, in addition to pregnancy care, midwives provide a full suite of women’s health services, including gynecologic care, pap tests, family planning and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.

Where am I going to give birth?

Where you live will influence your pregnancy care journey. Because provider types, prenatal care and delivery options can vary, make sure to research how your local clinics and hospitals manage pregnancy care.

Explore your options: Pregnancy care at Sanford Health

Ask about where you will have your routine appointments and where you will deliver your baby, as they often differ. Receiving your pregnancy care at an integrated health care system means that although members of your care team might be in different places, they communicate with each other to understand your needs and your birth plan.

Once you know where you will give birth, schedule a tour of the birthing suites and see exactly where you’ll be going. It can be comforting to be familiar with your surroundings on delivery day.

What if my pregnancy is high-risk?

Your first visit to a pregnancy care provider will include a thorough medical history review and exam to determine if your pregnancy is considered high-risk, meaning one or more complications could affect your health, your baby’s health or the likelihood for early delivery.

Your provider might recommend seeing a maternal-fetal medicine specialist if you:

  • Are younger than 17 or older than 35
  • Were underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant
  • Are pregnant with twins or other multiples
  • Have high-risk health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Had issues with previous pregnancies

What additional support services are available?

It’s important to know what other services are available for added support during and after pregnancy. Find out if pregnancy navigators, nurses who are specially trained to educate expectant mothers, or similar support services are available to help guide you. You may also want to ask if lactation specialists are available for extra breastfeeding support and encouragement.

Additionally, there are often other supportive and educational resources to explore. Pregnancy and parenting classes can help you feel prepared for labor, delivery, breastfeeding and caring for your baby.

What about care for my baby after birth?

Choosing an integrated health care system for your pregnancy care means a pediatrician can stop by to check in right after birth. If baby has any additional needs, they can address them quickly while you’re still in the hospital.

Your care team can also help you schedule follow-up appointments to make sure you are healing and your baby is healthy and progressing normally.

Access to a neonatal intensive care unit is critical if the need arrives. The NICU team is at the birth of premature babies and babies with health conditions. Knowing that expert infant care is available can bring peace of mind during the birthing process.

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Posted In Family Medicine, Pregnancy, Specialty Care, Women's