Choosing a Healthcare Provider
When planning your birth, you have options in choosing what type of health care provider you want assisting you. Options include obstetricians/gynecologists, midwives, and family practice doctors. Each of these providers is affiliated with a hospital, clinic, or birthing center. Home births are also available through some providers, where the processes of labor and birth occur at your own home.
Choosing your care provider is an important decision in determining what type of birth experience you will have. You may want to interview a few people before deciding on a provider to ensure he or she meets your birthing needs. Check out the philosophy of the hospital’s delivery department by visiting their website. Some places offer tours of their labor and delivery departments, which provide a good opportunity to ask staff about their approach to the childbirth experience. Questions to ask include: “Can you have a natural childbirth experience?” and “What type of pain control options do you have?” Asking friends, family members, and neighbors for their recommendations and experiences is also a good way to learn more about area doctors.
There are several types of practitioners that deliver babies. To find out more information about the different types of birth experiences and choices available to you, explore these links:
American Association of Birth Centers (AABC)
3123 Gottschall Road
Perkiomenville, PA 18074
AABC is an organization dedicated to pregnancy, birth, labor and delivery, and other women’s healthcare and reproductive issues. Their website provides a description of birth centers and a guide to finding one near you.
American College of Nurse-Midwives
The American College of Nurse-Midwives is a professional organization for certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. Their website provides more information about midwifery care and how to find a midwife in your area.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street, SW
Washington DC 20024
This professional society for obstetricians and gynecologists, which are doctors who specialize in women’s reproductive health and delivering babies, offers a listing of doctors by area.
The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE)
P.O. Box 390436
Cambridge, MA 02139
ALACE is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women’s choices in childbirth. Their goal is to help women reclaim trust in their ability to safely and dependably give birth. The website provides information on where to find a doula or childbirth educator.
The Birth Survey
The Birth Survey provides information about hospitals, birthing centers, home births, and providers as surveyed by real women who were asked to provide feedback about their birth experiences with a particular doctor or midwife and within a specific birth environment. It is created by The Transparency in Maternity Care Project, a project of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), to provide information that will help women make fully informed maternity care decisions.
281 Park Avenue South, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization that uses research, education and advocacy to improve maternity care for all women and their families. Their website provides information and resources on planning for pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period.
Doulas of North America
P.O. Box 626
Jasper, IN 47547
Doulas are specialized (usually non-medical) healthcare providers who provide emotional, physical, and educational support during and after childbirth, including methods for relaxation during labor and help with breastfeeding. Doulas do not deliver babies, so you will still need to choose a provider who does, but Doulas can help make the birth experience more comfortable. Their website offers a listing of providers by area.
Evidence Based Birth
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, Evidence Based Birth gives you a starting point to find evidence about your options during childbirth, and a way to start conversations with your healthcare providers about those options.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
MedlinePlus provides health information from the world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. Their website on pregnancy provides links to a wealth of informative resources including reports on everything from nutrition to teen pregnancy to financial issues.
Midwives Alliance of North America
The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) is a professional midwifery association uniquely positioned to unite and strengthen all midwives through dedication to innovative education, professional development, and recognized autonomous practice.
MANA is committed to enabling transformative research, promoting an evidence-based Midwifery Model of Care, addressing health disparities, and achieving optimal outcomes through normal physiologic birth and healthcare across the lifespan.
West Virginia Midwives (midwife directory in WV)
Find a midwife in West Virginia!