There are SO many considerations when pregnant but where does a mom start? Today, Tara Morse, D.O, an OB/GYN at Crescent City Physicians Inc., is discussing considerations as you contemplate your birth choices. This sponsored post is brought to you by Touro Infirmary.
Understanding Birth Options
Is a natural birth better? When should I see my OB/GYN? Should we get a doula? What is a midwife? Should I have a water birth? If you’re thinking about starting a family, expecting your first child, or thinking you might want to do things a little differently with your next pregnancy, you probably have many questions about options available to expectant families today.
Prenatal Care and Choosing a Provider
First and foremost if you are expecting, thinking about or trying to become pregnant, receiving early and regular prenatal care is essential for the health of both mom and baby. This can be under the care of an obstetrician (OB/GYN) or a certified nurse midwife. It’s important to understand how different providers may have different approaches to care and to select a provider who you feel is the best fit for you and your desired care plan.
Your doctor or midwife will give you a schedule of all the prenatal visits you should have while pregnant. Most suggest visits once each month for weeks 4-28, twice a month for weeks 28-36 and weekly for weeks 36 to birth. If you are older than 35 or your pregnancy is high risk, you’ll probably see your doctor more often.
If you are considering care under a midwife, your prenatal care will be similar to care under an OB/GYN. Midwives are experts in vaginal birth and will support the patient’s desire for birth with hydrotherapy in the water and vaginal birth with or without an epidural. Midwives at Touro collaborate with OB/GYNs who provide consultation as needed. Your midwife may refer you to an OB if a problem develops during pregnancy or needs to intervene during delivery.
Developing a Birth Plan
During your prenatal care, you will discuss a desired birth plan with your provider. Attending childbirth education classes will also help you understand the many options available to you including natural birth, hydrotherapy or water birthing, medical interventions including epidural as well as cesarean section if medically necessary.
During labor and delivery there are a wide variety of natural/alternative coping techniques that can be used to ensure a smoother birth experience. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Listen to your body and be open to new ideas from your provider and RN. Also, understand that your preferences may change throughout labor and that is okay.
Birth holds many unknowns and can be a long, intensive process. Identifying a positive support person will help mom through delivery. This can be your partner or another friend or family member. Many expectant mothers also find the assistance of a doula to be helpful. A doula comes from Greek traditions and was commonly known as a “birth companion.” A doula is a non-medical professional that provides birth support to the mother before, during and after birth.
Your provider and care team will work with you to best support your individual wishes and childbirth preferences. Of course, you can’t control every aspect of labor and delivery, and you’ll need to stay flexible in case something comes up that requires your birth team to depart from your plan. It’s best to educate yourself on all options including birth with an epidural, operative vaginal birth, and cesarean section if medical need arises. The goal is to keep mom and baby healthy and safe from prenatal care through delivery and into postpartum.
Tara Morse, D.O. is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc. – a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. A graduate of Des Moines University of Osteopathic medicine, Dr. Morse completed her residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine where she served as Chief Resident. She provides Obstetrics and Gynecology services at her mid-city office located at 4000 Bienville St.