Chances are, you’ve imagined holding your little one in your arms for the first time. Maybe you even considered what experience you want to have throughout labor and delivery.
For some birthing parents, that may include an epidural at a hospital. Other parents may opt for an intervention-free experience. Some may want a doula by their side. And others may prefer a midwife to an obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/Gyn).
“It’s wonderful that parents have so many options when it comes to how they want to welcome their little one into the world,” says Anna Baur, MD, Ob/Gyn at Commonwealth Ob/Gyn Specialists in Richmond, VA. “The key to creating the memories you’ll cherish is working closely with your entire care team.”
Dr. Baur delivers babies at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, where she collaborates with many members of the Labor and Delivery department. The team works seamlessly together to create the safe experience you want.
Meet your birthing team
Dr. Baur encourages birthing parents to get to know the different roles on a labor and delivery team and how they all work together.
“We each bring something slightly different to the table,” she explains.
Here, Dr. Baur shares the roles of the professionals you may interact with in the Labor and Delivery Experience Unit at Henrico Doctors Hospital and how they work together.
Your Ob/Gyn is a doctor who provides care for you throughout your pregnancy – from prenatal counseling to postpartum support. Your Ob/Gyn will help coordinate your care among everyone on your team, and may deliver your baby, depending on the type of care you choose. Their goal is to help you have a seamless, safe, and memorable labor and delivery.
A hospitalist is a doctor who works exclusively in the hospital setting. A hospitalist Ob/Gyn may offer backup care if your primary Ob/Gyn is unavailable. Your Ob/Gyn may also work with a hospitalist during your birth if you have a complicated delivery or need additional patient care.
These are providers who are very well known by your Ob/Gyn. Research has found that cesarean sections (c-sections) rates drop when a hospitalist is available on the labor and delivery floor.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
CNMs have completed extensive training in labor and delivery. They are very knowledgeable about maternal positioning and alternative pain management. Your Ob/Gyn may ask a midwife to assist in your delivery to help reposition your baby in utero or if your labor is progressing slowly. Some women also choose to receive care from a midwife exclusively, without the support of an Ob/Gyn.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Your registered nurse will be available to support you throughout labor and delivery. They get to know you closely and can offer helpful advice to keep you comfortable and safe. Your nurse will also keep your Ob/Gyn or midwife updated on your progress.
A doula is a trained companion who can assist and support you throughout your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum. As your advocate, they provide you with emotional and physical support before, during, and after childbirth. Doulas are professionals that birthing parents can choose to hire and are not a service provided by the hospital. They work closely with your Ob/Gyn or midwife to keep everyone on the same page for your birthing experience. If you choose to hire one, your Ob/Gyn or midwife can help find the one that’s right for you.
Other team members
There are countless individuals and roles that help you create and cherish a wonderful and safe birthing experience. Many of these dedicated professionals work in the background or may only interact with you for a few minutes. These teams include:
- Anesthesiology team is available 24/7 to provide pain relief, such as epidurals. They will work closely with your Ob/Gyn or midwife to best understand your goals for delivery.
- Clerical staff keeps things running smoothly so you can focus on the joyous process of delivering a baby, instead of which papers you need to fill out.
- Environmental services are a committed group that ensures the hospital environment is clean and safe.
- Perinatal nurse navigator is a registered nurse with specialized experience in helping high-risk expectant parents throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. They will help coordinate care for patients with high-risk pregnancies and create safe birthing plans that respects the birthing parents’ wishes and meets the needs of the parents and baby alike.
- Lactation consultants are available after delivery to help you and baby settle into a breastfeeding routine. They can answer questions, provide advice and troubleshoot any problems you may experience with breastfeeding.
- Social workers are available to provide extra social support for parents who have limited resources or support. A social worker can also be a shoulder to lean on in unexpected and challenging situations.
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff are available at the drop of the hat to deliver complex care to babies who need it.
Putting you first
As an Ob/Gyn, Dr. Baur calls on her training and education to deliver quality care to birthing parents, but she also calls on something more – her unique understanding and empathy on what it’s like going through childbirth. As a mother of two children, she has experienced two birthing scenarios – one unmedicated in a birthing center with a midwife and the other in an academic setting with an epidural.
“I can support women in whatever direction they choose,” she says. “I will always include other professionals during labor and delivery to make sure that you always feel safe, comfortable, and confident in the care you are receiving.”
Dr. Baur is currently accepting new patients. Learn more about her approach and the care she offers for birthing parents, from prenatal services to postpartum support to comprehensive women’s health services. Schedule an appointment by calling (804) 285-8806 or book an appointment online.