Choosing Pregnancy Care to Suit You and Your Family
Each couple’s approach to prenatal health and professional care during pregnancy is different. Nowadays there are so many options available. So you really can design your own pregnancy care in a way which suits your family’s beliefs, values, and individuality.
Today, we’ll go over some of the most popular types of pregnancy care. The list is by no means exhaustive and, by choosing one, you don’t count the others out. You can mix and match the professionals throughout your pregnancy timeline to help you have a balanced and healthy pregnancy.
Preparing for pregnancy
Many couples choose to engage professional care right from the moment they decide to try for a baby. Pre-pregnancy specialists include nutritionists, fertility specialists, prenatal health check-ups with your regular doctor and conception counselors. You may not need any of this guidance and find that you fall pregnant easily. But we do recommend booking a full general health check-up before you start trying to conceive.
Midwives have been around for hundreds of years and were traditionally village women experienced in childbirth. Today, midwives are fully trained nursing professionals who work in a variety of settings. They are the most trusted and commonly used practitioners for low-risk pregnancies.
The time that you engage a midwife is up to you. Some are based in hospitals and you meet them when it’s time to deliver. Others work with individual women right from the first sign of pregnancy. They do home visits to check on your development, give advice and guidance and help you develop a birth plan which works for you and your family. Regardless of whether you choose hospital delivery, a birth center, or home birth, the benefit of choosing one of these midwives is continuity. You’ll have someone you know and trust with you right throughout your pregnancy and at your delivery.
Obstetrician (pregnancy doctor)
If you are concerned about development at any of the stages of pregnancy, your regular physician or midwife may refer you to an obstetrician. These doctors specialize in reproductive health and can monitor your health and the baby’s development right throughout your pregnancy. If there are any risks associated with your pregnancy (e.g a history of miscarriages or a known genetic disorder in your family), we definitely recommend engaging an obstetrician early in your pregnancy.
There are many different styles of childbirth classes and we definitely recommend joining one. The Lamaze technique is among the most popular and has been around since the 1940s. These classes aim to increase your confidence and reduce anxiety around giving birth. They focus on sharing information, relaxation, breathing and partner support (so make sure your hubby or partner goes along with you!).
Apart from being knowledgeable and prepared for what you’re about to go through, the other benefit of attending is the friends you make. There’s something to be said for spending time with people going through the same thing as you and many women form social “coffee groups” which continue well after their children are born. I know women who have met lifelong friends at their Lamaze Classes.
If you’re only in the first trimester of pregnancy, this option is thinking ahead a little. But it is becoming more and more popular and is something worth discussing with your partner or midwife. The basic premise of hypnobirthing is removing fear and anxiety during labor and delivery through relaxation and hypnotherapy techniques.
Research shows that couples who use hypnobirthing techniques experience shorter labor times, a lowered risk of needing a caesarean section, and decreased pain during labor. If you choose this method, it involves taking classes from trained professionals to prepare for the process.
Pregnancy or birth centers are the middle ground between hospital delivery and home birth. These centers are stand-alone facilities which advocate natural (drug-free) delivery. Many pregnancy centers also provide you with information, classes and social groups for women throughout the stages of pregnancy.
A doula is trained to be a birth companion. They offer you emotional and moral support, as well as physical help, throughout your pregnancy, during delivery, and postpartum. Therefore, they are a good choice for low-risk pregnancies where you want a relaxed, friendly, and natural approach.
A Word on Pregnancy after 40
Many women deliver happy and healthy babies in their forties. It’s becoming more and more common for couples to have their first child later in life. In the 1970s only 1 in 100 American children was born to a woman over 35. But today the figures are more like 1 in 7. So it has become very normal in our society.
However, risks of pregnancy complications and birth defects do increase. Therefore, if you are pregnant in your 40s, you should pay particular attention to your professional care. Have someone monitoring your pregnancy week by week. We recommend contacting an experienced obstetrician or midwife and having regular checkups throughout your pregnancy. Find out more about getting pregnant at 40 here.
Do You Have a Question about Prenatal Care?
Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question! So, if we haven’t already answered yours, please feel free to post in the comments section or to send a private message through our contact us page.
Learn More about Your Pregnancy
- Good nutrition is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Why not read more about what a healthy Pregnancy Diet looks like here?
- Check out our pregnancy due date calculator and figure out when your little bundle will arrive here.
- Find out what pregnancy symptoms you can expect each week in our pregnancy week by week guide.