Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Pregnancy: Choosing a Health Professional
It's important to find a doctor or midwife who can work closely with you and share in decision making. Your partnership with your health professional is key to getting the care that is best for you. And a strong partnership will help you have the pregnancy and birth experiences that you want.
Several types of health professionals are trained to provide medical
care or support for prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. These
Choosing a health professional is directly related to where you want to deliver your baby. Certain providers usually deliver in certain birth settings. Most medical doctors (MDs) deliver only at hospitals. If you work with a midwife, you may be able to have an out-of-hospital birth.
Also, your choice affects the options you may have during both your pregnancy and delivery. If you work with a midwife, you may have more options for natural management of pain during labor. But you may not have the option of getting certain medicines for pain relief.
Doctors and midwives also have different training and skills. Doctors have more medical training than midwives and are trained to handle more serious problems. Doctors can do medical tests, such as amniocentesis, or surgery, such as a Cesarean delivery. Midwives usually have a more natural approach to pregnancy and childbirth. They may be less likely to do as many medical tests. And they often teach natural methods for managing pain during labor.
Doctors and midwives share the same goal—for you and your baby to be healthy. But sometimes their approaches to prenatal care and childbirth may be different. When you are choosing your health professional, find out if his or her philosophy and approach matches your preferences and values.
Some clinics and hospitals offer a group-practice approach. You choose a primary caregiver, but you will also see each of the other doctors or
midwives at least once during your pregnancy. If your primary caregiver isn't
available when you go into labor, you will be familiar with the doctor or
midwife who attends your delivery.
Along with a trained medical professional, you may also want to
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.