Expectant Mother’s Option
Choosing a doctor and a place to give birth are part of the entire preparation process of having a baby. Even as early as the onset of pregnancy when pregnancy symptoms are visible, many women concern themselves on who will attend to them, where to find the appropriate care provider, and on how to obtain the best possible care for themselves and for their upcoming babies. Most often, family members, relatives, and friends may give varied suggestions and recommendations, but the best choice usually depends on what makes the pregnant woman feel most comfortable. A woman may feel at ease and readily opens up to a care provider who respects her wishes, shares the same philosophy, or understands and supports her preference of childbirth and who is ready to help her fulfil such preference. At the same time, the place to give birth matters a lot for most, if not all, expectant women. A woman may prefer a place where she feels safe and comfortable with the quality of service she is given, including her relationship with the care givers; properly informed about the process she has to undertake, and; allowed to participate in the decision-making about care. In order to obtain all these, it is necessary to do some inquiries about both the care provider and the place of birth.
For care providers, she may choose from among an obstetrician/gynaecologist, a family doctor, a certified nurse or midwife, or a doula. All of these professionals, except a doula, are certified to give prenatal care and assistance in giving birth.
A doula may not provide a type of prenatal care, but she is trained in giving non-medical support to pregnant women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and even after birth. Because a doula understands all aspects of birth, she can advise the pregnant woman about the intricacies of parenthood and the different aspects of child care. She may even suggest about breastfeeding. Although a doula is not trained to handle women with high risk pregnancies, she is preferred by many women to help them through natural childbirth, home birth, or water birth because of her expertise in the field.
An obstetrician/gynaecologist is professionally trained in the field of prenatal care, high-risk pregnancy, labour, birth, and after childbirth care. He or she is an expert in handling both normal and complicated pregnancies. Besides, an OB/GYN is certified to diagnose and treat gynaecological disorders since he or she has a specialized study in the medical field of obstetrics and gynaecology. An obstetrician normally recommends delivering babies in a hospital where access to medical intervention is immediately accessible.
However, a pregnant woman may not be able to establish a consistent relationship with an OB/GYN because this practitioner normally works with a group, which means she may be seeing different doctors every time she goes in for an appointment. Besides, many of the OB/GYN are male and may not fully understand pregnancy from a woman’s perspective, consequently making her feel uncomfortable about discussing personal circumstances.
On the other hand, a woman may also choose a family physician (FP) to assist in her pregnancy. Since a family physician is already well-acquainted with the medical and health history of the family, he or she must have established a certain personal relationship and gained the confidence of family members. The FP becomes a friend who knows the pregnant woman well, in whom the latter can confide her personal circumstances, and from whom she can expect emotional support. Besides, a pregnant woman can expect her family physician to give her detailed information on her clinical status and care, and assist her in labour and delivery in a hospital since she is trained in this field.
Aside from an OB/GYN and an FP, a woman may opt for the services of a midwife, who is professionally trained to give a thorough care especially for low-risk pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum. A midwife may perform delivery either in a hospital, at a birthing centre, or at home, depending on the pregnant woman’s preference. Giving birth at home for low-risk pregnancy allows the woman to labour and deliver in a private and comfortable surrounding without the routine interruption of hospital staff.
Home birth, however, is contested by some sectors on the premise that it is not safe because of the lack of facilities that a hospital has.