Caregivers and Birth Settings

Why do I need to think about choosing a maternity caregiver and birth setting before I get pregnant?

Most women will make these important decisions early in their pregnancy, but you might want to consider what care options are available to you before you get pregnant. The caregiver you choose will affect many things -- from the quality of care you receive and the amount of information that is shared with you, to your options during labor and birth and your involvement with these decisions.  An established relationship with your caregiver during pregnancy planning can be an important part of your support system and a trusted source of information throughout your pregnancy.

If you have a chronic medical condition, are on certain medications, or have a disease that could cause birth complications, you will need to choose a maternity caregiver and birth setting which can accommodate these needs. In your situation, you will probably want to plan to give birth in a hospital and be in the care of a  doctor who is board-certified in obstetrics. Click here for more maternity caregiver options in our Pregnancy Topics section.

If you are healthy, as most pregnant women in the U.S. are, you have decisions to make as well, including whether to have a doctor or a midwife provide your maternity care. You will want to begin reviewing the points that go into making educated decisions about a maternity caregiver and birth setting during this planning pregnancy stage.  This website has detailed Pregnancy Topics covering both Caregivers and Birth Settings to help you make an informed decision. 

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 10/26/2012