Frequently Asked Questions About Maternity Care Providers
What kinds of maternity care providers are available in our community?
Women have several choices for maternity care providers in our community, including OB-GYNs, Family Practitioners, Certified Professional Midwives, and Certified Nurse Midwives. See our Resource Directory for contact information.
My insurance will only pay for a certain provider, but I'm interested in a different provider. What should I do?
First, find out exactly what your existing insurance plans covers with respect to maternity care. It might surprise you to learn that, according to a study by the Childbirth Connection, women with health insurance paid an average of $3,400 out-of-pocket for maternity care (see also a fascinating article published in the New York Times on this topic recently). Then have a discussion with the care provider you are interested in seeing (or his/her billing specialist) and discuss options for self-payment. Some practitioners give discounts for clients paying out of pocket, and midwives who attend births at home or in birth centers in our area typically charge between $2000-$3500, total, for maternity care and delivery.
What can I do if I decide late in my pregnancy that I'm not a good fit with my care provider?
It is not uncommon for women to develop concerns about her maternity care provider as the pregnancy progresses and prenatal visits become more frequent. Address your concerns with your provider directly, and if you are not satisfied with the response, you can begin to explore other options. Even if it is late in your pregnancy, remember the importance of your care provider (and the birth setting) to having the birth you desire.
Here are some tips from the Childbirth Connection website:
"Even if it is late in your pregnancy, you might be able to change providers if:
How are they different from one another?
Midwives and OBs, along with some family physicians, are trained to care for pregnant women and assist them during childbirth and delivery. However, there are some important differences in their approaches to managing pregnant women.
Who They Treat. Midwives' scope of practice includes working with healthy women having normal pregnancies. Women with preexisting health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or who develop complications during pregnancy, are generally referred to OBs, who are trained to treat women with high-risk pregnancies.
Models of Care. Midwives adhere to the "midwifery model of care", which emphasizes that birth is a normal life transition, and that women's bodies are specially designed to give birth. This typically translates into a more holistic and less interventionist approach to obstetrical care. For example, midwives will generally spend more time with women during prenatal visits and during labor, and they are less likely to induce or augment labor with Pitocin. Women who are attended by OBs are more likely to use pain medication and to have assisted (instrument) deliveries or C-sections. Family physicians generally fall in-between midwives and OBs with respect to the use of medical interventions during birth.
Birth Settings. Midwives can attend births in clients' homes, at free-standing birth centers, and in hospitals (nurse-midwives only). OBs and family physicians only attend births in hospitals. In our community, and in addition to homebirth, the specific options for women include:
"I'm Pregnant. Now What?"
How do I know if a particular provider is right for me?