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Choosing Your Pregnancy & Birth Team

You might think it’s too early to start planning for the big day, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what kind of birthing experience will be the ideal one for you

Friday, August 10th, 2018

What to consider before you choose your birth team

Where do you want to give birth? It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you envision your perfect birthing experience – but location will affect many of the decisions you make when planning who will attend your birth. Your healthcare professional is a great person to ask about the services and professionals available in your area.

Do you live in an urban or a rural setting? Urban centres have more hospitals and maternity homes to choose from. In rural areas, there are a number of nurse practitioners available to help compensate for the fewer number of hospitals. So, be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about the services available where you live.   

It is important to trust and feel comfortable with the person who will be providing you with care throughout your pregnancy. Whoever you choose, they should be happy to answer your questions and encourage your input. Here are a few things to consider before settling on a primary care provider for your pregnancy:

  • Ask about their views on pain medication, natural births, and breastfeeding.
  • Would you like someone that is aware of/accommodating to certain cultural or religious practices?
  • Do you need a healthcare professional that speaks a certain language?
  • Where does the healthcare professional typically deliver? Do you have your mind set on a specific delivery site (hospital, maternity home)?
  • When booking prenatal visits, is it important to have an office that takes evening or weekend appointments?

Getting to know your pregnancy & birth team

Birth Partner You probably feel that you know just about all there is to know about your birth partner. This is the person that you couldn’t imagine experiencing pregnancy without. This may be your husband or partner, your mother or your best friend. It is that special person you can count on to give you the support you need throughout your pregnancy, labour, delivery and after baby arrives.

Family Doctors Your family doctor may provide some prenatal care, but fewer family doctors are delivering babies than in the past. After week 32 your doctor may transfer you to another family doctor, obstetrician or midwife for the duration of your pregnancy and delivery.

Obstetrician-Gynaecologists Not every obstetrician-gynaecologist (Ob-Gyn) provides prenatal care, but more are delivering babies than ever before. If your pregnancy is deemed high risk (women with diabetes, those who develop preeclampsia or women expecting twins or multiple births), expect an Ob-Gyn to be a part of your birth team. If you’re scheduled for a caesarean, the same applies.

Midwife Your midwife is an expert in women’s healthcare – especially prenatal care. Midwives are trained to provide complete care for low-risk women during pregnancy, childbirth and the first few weeks after childbirth. Your midwife will help to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and natural birth experience. Midwives are present during childbirth, and while they are licensed to prescribe certain drugs and other required tests during your pregnancy, your midwife will not intervene with any medications unless necessary.

Maternal/Newborn Nurses Your nurse is a trained medical professional and - just like doctors - specializes in certain areas of care. So expect to receive care from a variety of nurses before and after your baby is born. Throughout your pregnancy a nurse practitioner may also be available to you. She will offer you prenatal care and advice similar to a physician. Once your labour starts and you are admitted to the hospital, you will meet your labour and delivery nurse. Ask her questions, be honest about your fears, and look to her for support throughout your labour – she’s there to help. After your baby is born, you will meet your lactation counsellor who will provide breastfeeding help and support to you and your baby. Finally, you will meet your public health nurse. She will provide you with continued follow-up care, advice and support after you leave the hospital.

With everything else you’ll be thinking about, you can rest easy knowing you have your very own team of experts to help support you during your first introduction to motherhood.


This is intended for information purposes only. Please note that this may vary depending on your location.

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