Choosing a Provider for Your Pregnancy and Birth

This is an exciting time for you. One of the first decisions you'll need to make is the type of provider you want for your journey. Learn the difference between an advanced practice provider, obstetrician and certified nurse midwife

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

This is often an exciting but stressful time of your life. There are many decisions you will make in pregnancy, but one of the first is deciding on the type of provider you want for this journey. This may be your first time, or you may have been through this many times before but finding the right provider can make a significant difference in your care and experience. There are multiple different providers who provide maternity care and attend your birth.

Here at Northfield Hospital + Clinic you can choose who you prefer to have for your clinic care and delivery. Hopefully this will help guide your decision. Your primary options for maternity care include Obstetrician, Certified Nurse Midwives, or Advance Practice Providers. We recommend finalizing your decision on your primary provider around 20 weeks of pregnancy.



Advanced Practice Providers and Obstetricians

Advanced Practice Providers

These are providers who have advanced degrees with a women's health focus but do not have formal training in labor and delivery. They see women for well woman exams throughout their lifespan, gynecologic conditions, and for maternity care. They only see patients in the clinic.

You may see them throughout your pregnancy for maternity care, although it is recommended that you see your delivering provider group (midwife or MD) from 36 weeks on in your pregnancy.

Obstetrician or OB

These are doctors that specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, often referred to as OBGYN. They specialize in care during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and women’s health throughout the lifespan. This includes reproduction, breast, and sexual health. They have advanced training for pregnancy and reproductive health and have specialty training in surgery. They can provide surgical care for conditions related to women’s reproductive health and with emergencies that may arise. They can manage both low-risk and high-risk pregnancies. They work collaboratively with the Advanced Practice Providers and Midwives when patient needs arise. They work in a clinic and hospital setting.

Why you may choose them for your maternity care:

  • You may have already seen an OBGYN for other women’s health care and may prefer to continue your maternity care with them.
  • You do not want to risk the chance of having to switch providers if a problem or complication arises during pregnancy.
  • You have a higher risk pregnancy. Some conditions require that you are seen by an OB because of the advanced training they have in complex obstetrical conditions. For example, if you have pre-existing diabetes or chronic hypertension requiring medication.
  • You are carrying multiples (twins, triplets, or more).
  • You have a known condition that requires that you have a cesarean section for the birth.

Nurse Midwife or CNM

These are nurses who have advanced degrees in women’s health to provide preconception, maternity, postpartum, and gynecologic care for low-risk women.  Their goal is to educate and assist you in making decisions best for you and your family.  Midwives believe that pregnancy and birth are normal processes in a woman’s life. They believe in evidence-based care, high touch and low intervention, and that not all modern interventions are necessary. They work collaboratively with OBGYNs as needed for any complications that may arise during pregnancy or labor. They can manage basic obstetrical emergencies but call for help in situations that require advanced training and surgery, such as D & Cs, cesarean sections, and repairs of 3rd & 4th degree lacerations.  They work in a clinic and hospital setting.

Why you may choose them for your maternity care:

  • You prefer a natural, more relaxed approach to pregnancy and childbirth than standard care.
  • You are interested in unmedicated birth. This is not required, as midwives do allow pain management (epidural etc.) for their patients.
  • You want a waterbirth.  At this hospital, only the CNMs attend waterbirths.
  • You want to create a more individualized care plan.
  • You are interested in more one on one support during your labor and birth.