There are a lot of different people who might end up being included in your birth team, depending on what happens, and whether complications arise. These might include: Your family doctor.
Your GP may be the first person you will tell when you become pregnant. He or she will then talk you through what happens during your pregnancy and help you plan your antenatal care. If you choose to have your baby with a midwife-led team or a community health team, your doctor may also be involved in the in some parts of the UK..
In the UK, midwives play a major role in both antenatal and postnatal care in the community, in the hospital as well as being part of the birth team. Many women with a straightforward labour will have only midwives supporting them during labour and delivery. A midwife is someone who is trained to look after mum and baby during a normal pregnancy, labour and birth. He or she is not a nurse, although many midwives are also trained, nurses. You will see a midwife at each visit to the hospital or community antenatal clinic.
Very few midwives are also trained ultrasonographers, so it’s not usual for a mum to see a Midwife at their anomaly scan. The midwives from your local maternity hospital will look after you through your labour and help you give birth to your baby.
After your birth, a community midwife or health care assistant will visit you at home, and you’ll probably get to know them during your pregnancy. They are often attached to your family doctor’s surgery. The community midwives are often involved in midwife-led birth units and home births and will also visit you and your baby at home whether you had a home or hospital birth. You will usually have a team of different community midwives looking after you.
A sonographer is a healthcare professional trained to carry out and interpret the ultrasound scans you have during your pregnancy to assess how your baby is growing and developing.
An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in the care of women during pregnancy, labour and birth. Most low-risk births in the UK are midwife-led and you may only see the obstetrician if you need additional specialist input. If your pregnancy requires more scans, your pregnancy will probably be obstetrician led. An obstetrician will attend complex deliveries, and will always perform caesarean sections.
In the USA, it is more common to have obstetrician-led care and an obstetrician present during the birth.
This is a doctor who is trained to look after babies and children. A paediatrician may attend your birth if there are concerns or complications. If your baby is born in the hospital a paediatrician will check your baby after the birth.
A health visitors is a nurse in the UK with a special training in the health of babies, young children and families. About ten days after your baby is born, your health visitor visit and give you your red child health record book. She will monitor your baby’s health and development at home, your doctor’s surgery or at the local child health clinic until your child starts school. She will weigh your baby and carry out baby checks with your doctor.
This is the person you choose to include in your labour and birth. This is often your partner but maybe your mother, your sister or a best friend who had given birth before and wants to support you during birth. Their role is to support you during labour and the birth and advocate for you to help you have the birth you had hoped for. You should discuss your birth plan and scenarios before the birth so you both have a good understanding of when you would like to consider different pain relief options, breastfeeding after the birth, natural versus managed third stage etc.
These are women, usually mums themselves, who have been trained to support women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. This support is practical and emotional but non-medical in nature. Doulas often say that they ‘mother the mother’. You can have a doula as a birth partner (you can opt for just a doula or she can support you alongside your birth partner) or you can hire a post-natal doula to help you at home with the new baby. She will be rather like a maternity nurse but she will take on the domestic chores and nurture you, so you can focus on bonding with your baby.