Before you have your baby, you’ll want to create your birth care team. These are the people who will help support you while you’re in labor and having your baby.
If you have your baby in a hospital, you will have a labor and delivery nurse to help you. You will also have an OB/GYN doctor while you’re in labor. Or, if your pregnancy is low-risk, you might have a nurse-midwife. If your pregnancy is high-risk, you might see a high-risk pregnancy doctor, called a maternal fetal medicine specialist.
To find who you think is best to care for you, you can interview your healthcare providers, like your OB/GYN or nurse-midwife. You can use these checklists to ask your nurse-midwife or your OB/GYN at your first pre-natal appointment. If you decide you want to change healthcare providers, it’s easier to do it early in your pregnancy. You’ll also want to ask your insurance which healthcare providers they’ll pay for.
- Find an obstetrician
- Find a nurse-midwife
- Find a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (MFM or High-Risk Pregnancy Doctor)
Some women and birthing people have a doula to help them during labor and birth. Doulas are not nurses or doctors. And, insurance does not usually pay for them. But, if someone is with you and helps you during your entire labor and birth, you are less likely to have a C-section. Many women and birthing people say that having a team of people, or a labor support team, makes their birthing experience better.
When you go into labor, bring your labor support team with you, if possible. Build a team that makes you comfortable. If you have questions or do not have a support team to bring with you, try to:
- Connect with local community-based organizations that prioritize pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding.
- Identify and reach out to local doulas, birth educators, and lactation consultants.
- Use social media and the web to connect with pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and parenting groups that you feel comfortable with.
- Ask for remote or virtual help from doulas, family, and friends who you trust.
If you’d like a doula as part of your labor support team, these resources can help you find one:
- DoulaMatch (nationwide)
- Kindred Space LA (Los Angeles area)
- Roots of Labor Birth Collective (San Francisco bay area)
- Long Beach Birth Workers of Color Collective (Long Beach)
- Sista Midwife Productions (nationwide)
- DONA (international)