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Choosing the right practitioner
Choosing The Right Practitioner
You have lots of decisions to make now that you're expecting a baby, and one of the first things you'll need to consider is who will care for you during your pregnancy - an obstetrician, a family physician, or a certified nurse-midwife. Each has different qualifications, philosophies, practice guidelines, and areas of expertise. Your choice will depend on your health and the type of pregnancy and birth experience you want.
- The Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) is an M.D. who has specialized in the field of woman's health and pregnancy. They specialize not only in the care and treatment of the woman during the pregnancy, but also the labor and delivery of the baby.
- The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, or perinatologist, is an OB who has received special training to care for high-risk pregnancies. Women may choose this specialist if they have had a previous complicated pregnancy, have a multiple birth pregnancy, or have preexisting medical conditions.
- The Family Physician (FP) according to the American Academy of Family Physicians is an M.D. that has chosen to study family practice medicine. This encompasses treating people of every sex and age with a diverse knowledgebase of all diseases as well as taking care of women who are pregnant. While the family physician delivers some babies, some women may be referred to a specialist for their pregnancy.
- The Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a person who is educated in nursing and midwifery (receiving the proper credentials and certifications in both areas). A nurse midwife is focused on caring for women who are pregnant and generally is there for labor and delivery as well. Nurse midwives may work within the healthcare community, hand in hand with hospitals and physicians, in caring for you during your pregnancy.
Each type of medical practitioner will treat you and your pregnancy differently. So before you decide on "the one," research each practitioner and practice as extensively as you can.
Review Date: July 11, 2001
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. editorial.
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