Pregnancy Care Providers
Learning that you’re having a baby is one of the most remarkable moments in a woman’s life, and you want to receive the best level of care for you and your baby. St. Vincent Healthcare is here to make sure you receive it—and to help you welcome your little one into the world.
Choosing the right healthcare provider to meet your needs throughout your pregnancy and delivery is a top priority. Because we understand that every woman and every pregnancy is different, you may choose to receive care from your family doctor, an OB/GYN or a certified nurse midwife throughout your pregnancy and delivery. For women who are facing a high-risk pregnancy due to age or other complications, Maternal-Fetal Medicine physicians are also available.
An OB/GYN is a physician who specializes in caring for the health needs of women, including pregnancy. During pregnancy, he or she may ask to see you monthly at first, with visits growing more frequent as you near delivery. At these appointments, your physician will evaluate your health and that of your unborn baby, and answer questions and discuss any concerns that you might have.
Whenever possible, your chosen OB/GYN will also be with you through labor and delivery, including if a Cesarean section (also called a c-section) is needed. He or she will also care for you after delivery, which is referred to as postpartum care.
Sometimes referred to as perinatologists, maternal-fetal Medicine physicians complete an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology which provides extensive knowledge relating to high-risk pregnancies and those with complications. These physicians monitor both the expectant mother and her unborn child, and they are focused on getting the best possible outcomes for their patients. This may include efforts to prevent premature delivery.
The maternal-fetal Medicine specialist may assist with delivery, particularly in those cases in which the baby is known to have a congenital abnormality or other complication. He or she also, at least initially, provides information and support to the pediatric care team before and after the baby is born.
Based on personal preference, you may prefer to work with a certified nurse midwife (CNM) for both pregnancy and non-pregnancy related health issues. Each of the midwives with privileges to deliver at St. Vincent Healthcare is a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree and undergone specialized training in this field.
In addition to prenatal care and labor and delivery care, certified nurse midwives may conduct annual pelvic and breast exams, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, and peri- and post-menopausal care.
A CNM is not licensed to care for high-risk pregnancies, though in some settings she may continue to provide in-person care for women with some risk factors while an OB/GYN or perinatologist provides consultative support.
For many years, family physicians served the needs of the entire family, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Today’s family practice physicians (also referred to as general practioners) continue to see patients of all ages with a variety of issues; however, they may opt to provide referrals to other, more specialized, physicians as needed.
Family practioners at St. Vincent Healthcare can—and many do—provide primary prenatal care for their patients and attend labor and delivery. Women who are having complications with pregnancy are likely to be referred, however, to an OB/GYN or Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist.