THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: BUILDING YOUR BIRTH TEAM
The most important thing you can do when thinking about your pregnancy and birth is to pick the appropriate team to support you.
There is a lot of confusion over who your team entails. Here’s our breakdown to make it easy.
An OBGYN is a doctor that specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Gynecology meaning specializing in the diseases and disorders of the biologically female reproductive system and Obstetrics meaning specializing in the care of pregnant people. So they do both. When it comes to birth, they are highly trained in using interventions and performing surgery (which is awesome when it's necessary!)
Not all OBGYNs catch babies so if you love your Doctor, be sure to ask now!
OBGYNs only have privileges in certain hospitals, so be sure you like the hospital where your Doctor has privileges before signing on.
You may really like their personality, but it doesn't mean they are the best fit for your birth. Think about what is most important to you, and be sure to have those conversations early on. For example, if you want an unmedicated birth and you are low-risk but your Doctor or hospital doesn’t allow you to be intermittently monitored for ALL of your labor, go some place else.
You typically have an OBGYN OR a Midwife, but you can have an OBGYN AND a doula.
A midwife is a clinical practitioner trained to view birth as a normal physiological process. Some midwives practice at hospitals (then they too must work within their institution's policies), others at birth centers and some just do home births. No midwives can perform surgery. An on-call OB would perform surgery if it becomes necessary. Hospital midwives can order an epidural. Midwives can suture (even out of hospital). Midwives are specially trained in non-pharmaceutical pain relief options.
- Studies show that birth outcomes are best in countries that utilize more midwives for low risk pregnancies.
- Midwives can also handle all of your GYN needs prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and beyond.
- Midwives in the U.S have different trainings, legalities and licensure from state-to-state, so ask questions to find who is right for you.
You typically have a midwife OR an OBGYN. But you can have a midwife AND a doula.
A birth doula is a non-clinical birth coach who provides emotional, advocacy and educational support during pregnancy and birth. They do not replace your OB or Midwife. And they do not replace your partner. They are there to help make your birth day party the best it can be by making sure the pregnant person's needs are being met, and that the pregnant person is an active participant in their birthing experience. There are also postpartum doulas who can help take care of and teach the lactating parent and baby post-birth from the comfort of your home. ⠀
- The doula is likely the only person on your team (other than your partner) who will be with you continuously throughout your labor. If you are birthing in a hospital, you will likely spend most of your labor (and sometimes even pushing) without your Doctor or Midwife present. They will be watching you from the monitors outside.
- Your doula can meet you at your home first, help you labor there and help you with your transition to your birth place.
Learn more by listening to our BIRTH IS SOOOO RELEVANT and WHAT THE BLEEP HAPPENS IN CHILDBIRTH- ORGASMS AND OTHER CRAZY THINGS podcast episodes.