What do birthmothers need to know about medical providers, pregnancy, and postpartum health? For birthmothers considering adoption, understanding the roles of these professionals and establishing a supportive relationship is essential. Look at the types of medical professionals involved in delivering babies, the nature of the relationship a birthmother might have with them, and when the birthmother should see these types of healthcare professionals after delivery.
What Are the Types of Medical Professionals Involved in Delivering Babies?
Obstetricians, commonly referred to as OBGYNs, are physicians specializing in women’s reproductive health. They play a central role in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. Throughout the pregnancy, OBGYNs monitor the health of both the mother and the baby, provide medical advice, and oversee the delivery process. These medical doctors (M.D.s) can deliver babies vaginally or via a surgical C-section.
Midwives are another type of healthcare professional. These providers are trained in prenatal care, support during labor, and postpartum care. While midwives can handle low-risk pregnancies, some work alongside OBGYNs in more complex cases.
Unlike the OBGYN, the midwife is not a medical doctor. There are a few different types of midwives, including certified nurse midwives, certified midwives, and certified professional midwives. A certified nurse midwife is, as the name implies, a registered nurse. This type of RN also has an advanced graduate degree in midwifery and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Certified midwives also have American Midwifery Certification Board certification. However, these providers are not registered nurses. Instead, they have an undergraduate degree in another area and a graduate degree in midwifery. Certified professional midwives are certified by the American Registry of Midwives. These midwives may or may not have an advanced degree.
Many birthmothers appreciate the personalized care and holistic approach midwives bring to the birthing experience. Some states only certify or allow certain types of midwives to treat patients. According to the Cleveland Clinic, certified nurse midwives can work in every state—but certified midwives can only work in some states. Likewise, certified professional midwives can not work in every state.
Along with your main medical provider, you will also have nursing support from other RNs. Labor and delivery nurses are integral members of the birthing team. They assist during labor, monitor vital signs, administer medications, and provide emotional support. Their expertise ensures a smooth delivery process, making them crucial allies for both birthmothers and medical professionals.
A doula is another provider who can assist with your pregnancy and delivery. While not a medical professional, a doula is a trained birth companion who offers emotional and physical support during labor and childbirth. Doulas can become valuable allies for birthmothers, providing comfort and advocacy throughout the birthing process.
What Should You Know About the Relationship Between Birthmothers and Providers?
Open communication is essential during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. This includes sharing personal preferences, concerns, and any decisions regarding the adoption plan. The ability to communicate openly and honestly with your provider allows the medical professional to provide the best possible care.
A birthmother’s decisions regarding adoption are deeply personal. Any medical professional you choose should approach these decisions with respect and sensitivity. This can help you to feel supported and empowered in your decisions.
What Else Do Medical Providers Do?
Medical professionals, particularly OBGYNs, play a key role in educating birthmothers about their options. This includes discussing the benefits and challenges of various delivery methods, pain management options, and postpartum care. If you don’t know or understand your delivery choices or have questions about prenatal and postpartum care, talk to your doctor, midwife, or other provider.
Along with care during your pregnancy (and after delivery), providers should help to create a supportive birthing environment. The setting should cater to the emotional needs of the birthmother. This involves creating a birthing plan that aligns with your wishes and ensuring that your emotional well-being is prioritized.
When Should Birthmothers See Medical Professionals After Delivery?
Medical professionals closely monitor the health of both the mother and the baby immediately after delivery in the hospital or birthing center setting. This is a critical time for addressing any complications, providing emotional support, and ensuring that the birthmother feels physically and emotionally stable. But this isn’t the last time that you’ll see your OBGYN, midwife, or healthcare provider.
Birthmothers should attend postpartum checkups as recommended by their medical professionals. These appointments allow healthcare providers to assess the mother’s physical recovery, address any concerns, and provide guidance on postpartum care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that women visit their provider several times over the first 12 postpartum weeks. This differs from previous recommendations to see the doctor for one six-week follow-up visit.
While physical recovery is essential, the emotional well-being of the birthmother is equally important. Support from medical professionals, mental health professionals, and, if desired, adoption counselors can contribute to a holistic recovery process.
Birthmothers may continue to see medical professionals for routine healthcare needs. Maintaining a relationship with their healthcare team ensures ongoing support and addresses any long-term health concerns.
Do you want to learn more about adoption? Contact Arizona Adoption Help for more information.