Although many doctors can deliver a baby, women see an obstetrician throughout the pregnancy to take care of themselves and the developing child.
An obstetrician also provides follow-up care, including the annual Pap tests necessary to track a woman’s health status. They can also offer birth control advice, assist with menopausal issues, and other related care needs. All obstetricians must graduate from medical school and complete a four-year residency program in gynaecology and obstetrics.
How Do I Choose an Obstetrician?
§ Does my family, friend, or co-worker have a go-to doctor they love?
§ Which obstetricians in my area get the best reviews?
§ Can I make it to an appointment with my doctor easily?
§ Will I need any extra access?
§ What hospital does the obstetrician use?
For women planning to deliver their babies in a hospital, it might be helpful to tour the labour and delivery facilities. [] What gets seen there could influence the decision for or against specific doctors.
When Should I Make the First Appointment?
The first prenatal visit is often the longest one that women experience during pregnancy. It’s also the most comprehensive meeting during this life stage. Not only will there be plenty of information gathering and tests, but women also receive information about their diet, prenatal vitamins, and exercise. The best time to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician is right after receiving a positive result from a home pregnancy test. [] This meeting usually happens in the second month, typically between weeks six and twelve. You can also visit with an obstetrician to discuss pre-conception challenges you might have. If you have general questions about your overall reproductive health, a doctor with gynaecology experience can help. []
Many obstetricians work within both specialities.
Your Obstetrician’s Role in Pregnancy
An obstetrician is there for expecting mothers and their families from the beginning of this new life journey. During the first appointment, you will receive a complete examination. [] The goal is to find the heartbeat (if you’re far enough along) to ensure everyone is healthy. You will also get an estimation of your due date. After the initial meeting, most women have a checkup every four weeks until birth. As the pregnancy progresses, different measurements get taken to ensure your health continues moving in a positive direction. The obstetrician will also monitor the baby’s position to ensure healthy growth. [] These appointments might receive the following care options based on how the pregnancy progresses.
§ Information about mental, emotional, or physical changes experienced during pregnancy.
§ Testing for congenital concerns or genetic disorders.
§ Prescriptions for any medication needed to have a healthy pregnancy.
§ Time to answer whatever questions you might have during this life-changing event.
Each woman receives an individualised experience with their obstetrician because every pregnancy is different. If you’re having multiples, such as twins or triplets, your doctor might request more frequent appointments to keep track of your development.
Your Obstetrician’s Role During Labour and Birth
If everything goes well during labour, you might not see your obstetrician until it is time to give birth to your child. [] With today’s technology, your doctor can be in constant contact with you during the entire event. They can even check on your labour progress by communicating with the midwives in your room or by speaking with you directly. During a routine birth, your doctor’s role is to supervise everything to ensure things go according to plan. If you need to get treated for any reason, they can step in to help. If you need a caesarean or extra help to finish the birthing process, the obstetrician you’ve selected is typically the one who performs the delivery. []
Your Obstetrician’s Role After Birth
After giving birth, your obstetrician is there to visit you as needed. For most women, that means receiving a daily checkup to see how things are going. Although your doctor might not have direct conversations with you, they stay updated through performed observations and records to ensure your body starts or continues the recovery process. After your discharge, you can expect to visit your obstetrician about six weeks after delivery to ensure everything has gotten back to normal. Finding the right obstetrician to meet your needs is a crucial component of your pregnancy and overall well-being. That’s why keeping this information available is helpful when you’re trying to find the right doctor.