If your new to the birth world you may be confused about what care providers titles mean. You may be asking, “Is a midwife and a doula the same thing?” Or you may want to know the difference between types of midwives. Let me take a couple minutes and break it down for you.
Care providers for birth
(OB/GYN) Obstetrician & Gynecologist : An OB/GYN is a doctor who is specially trained in reproductive health, pregnancy, birth and postpartum (immediately after babies birth). They can manage complex/ high-risk pregnancies and are qualified to preform cesarean surgeries (c-section). Specifically, a Gynecologist manages women’s reproductive health, while an Obstetrician manages pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Note: A provider can be a GYN without being an OB, but an OB can not be an OB without also being a GYN.
(CNM) Certified Nurse Midwife: A CNM is a nurse who has specialized in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They can deliver your baby as long as you are low risk. If complications do come up during their care, they will transfer your care to an OB/GYN. In the Cincinnati area, CNM’s work in the hospital or birth center setting. There are midwives that work in most of our local hospitals.
(CPM) Certified Professional Midwife: A CPM is a midwife that specializes in low risk pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They are trained to provide very natural, holistic and low intervention care. In the Cincinnati area, CPMs deliver babies in the clients homes. Caring for homebirth clients, CPMs are trained to transfer care to the hospital at any signs of complications, where the client would then be under the care of an OB/GYN with the support of their CPM. (Who I have trained under and assist at homebirths.)
Support for birth
(RN) Registered Nurse: These nurses are trained to monitor laboring and postpartum people. They are the nurses who are taking your vitals, the babies heart rate and doing the majority of the communication between you and the care provider. They help your care provider with the delivery, then care for your and baby after the birth.The RNs are who you will see the most during your stay at a hospital. Note: The RNs are most likely Labor & Delivery nurses.
Birth Doula: Birth doulas are trained individuals, who provide emotional, educational and physical support during labor and birth. They know the process and systems of labor and birth well and are able to guide you though. They provide constant care, focusing on the birthers comfort and supporting them in gaining any information they need. (What I am.)
I hope these few definitions help clear up the basic differences in care providers and support people for your birth. Did I forget anything? Who else did you have at your birth? Who would you want to have next time? I would love to hear from you.