Growing up "Dr." could mean dentist or pediatrician. In our teen years "Dr." could mean OBGYN, dentist, or "regular" Dr. On to college "Dr." could take on psychologist (hey, we didn't all have rosy college experiences), OBGYN, dentist, or "regular". As life progresses so does our Dr. repertoire. Being pregnant is no different - here are the basics:
- Obstetrician: your general "baby" Dr. who takes you from pregnancy to childbirth and occasionally puerperium or postpartum (shortly after birth). Most obstetricians are also gynecologists.
- Midwife: often called the "non-medical" version of an obstetrician, a Midwife gives prenatal care during the pregnancy, attends the birth, and provides postpartum care for both mommy and baby. Midwives commonly specialize in low-risk pregnancy (twins are considered high risk) and can be a man or woman.
- Doula: Doula's act as assistant's to provide non-medical support (much like Midwives). Doula's can be involved in the entire pregnancy and birth process or a "postpartum doula" can come in and provide care in the home after birth; care includes breastfeeding support, newborn care, running errands, light housekeeping - keeping the sanity!
- Perinatal Medicine and Genetics: Men and women who provide perinatal and genetics medicine help with the baby 5-months before birth and 1-month after birth. The actual perinatal period lasts 22 weeks.
- Pediatrician: I call pediatrician's "baby Drs" - they care for children from birth through age 14 or 18. Remember the time when going to the Dr. meant getting a lollipop? I'm researching pediatrician's in the city now so when my bundles of joy come we'll have someone lined up.
Where to find the right doctor(s):
- Friends - ask friends and family who also have children for references
- Your doctor - they often have a network of common referals
- Yelp - I love love love Yelp, you can get a good read on who experienced what where; hint, after finding a good doc, you can find a good restaurant on Yelp