Obstetricians are highly trained surgeons who specialize in pathology associated with pregnancy and childbirth. OBs work in hospital settings and are most appropriate for women who are considered “high risk” either due to a pre-existing medical condition or a complication developed during pregnancy. If you are “low risk” but believe that birth is potentially or even inherently dangerous and that there is a real possibility that surgery or other advanced medical interventions will be necessary to insure the health of yourself or your child, then an obstetrician may be the right choice for you.
Further reading on this topic:
“Obstetrics and gynecology is a discipline dedicated to the broad, integrated medical and surgical care of women’s health throughout their lifespan. The combined discipline of obstetrics and gynecology requires extensive study and understanding of reproductive physiology, including the physiologic, social, cultural, environmental and genetic factors that influence disease in women. This study and understanding of the reproductive physiology of women gives obstetricians and gynecologists a unique perspective in addressing gender-specific health care issues.
Preventive counseling and health education are essential and integral parts of the practice of obstetricians and gynecologists as they advance the individual and community-based health of women of all ages.” [http://www.acog.org/from_home/acogscope.cfm]
Here are some suggested questions to encourage dialogue and help you get a sense of your care provider’s approach. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 to 3 providers. It is never too late to change providers if you are not comfortable with the answers you receive.
Thanks to a groundbreaking new consumer resource called The Birth Survey, women and families now have an additional tool to help them make maternity care decisions that are right for their individual needs. Like Angie’s List or Consumer Reports, The Birth Survey helps people evaluate the goods and services they are shopping for, in this case, maternity care. The Birth Survey was created by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and piloted in New York City by Choices in Childbirth.
This is a compilation of federal laws on a variety of topics relevant to maternity care and rights including:
• Respect and Nondiscrimination
• Consistent and Timely Treatment
• Maternity Leave
• Informed Decision Making
• Maternity Information Act
• Insurance Coverage for Home Birth, and
The information is adapted from various texts and is not intended to be legal advice.
Tim and Lucy, 3 months © Sarah Tew Photography