Many people make up your birth team. It includes the well-trained professionals who guide you through the process at the hospital. It’s also the friends and family members at home. They help you by lending their support or taking care of tasks you can’t do.
Your hospital team
You’ll have several people helping you once you’re checked into the hospital. Your labor and childbirth team will likely include:
- A physician and/or nurse midwife. This person will help you through labor, the birth of your baby, and your immediate postpartum period. They are focused on caring for both you and your baby the entire time.
- Labor and delivery nurses. You’ll probably see your nurse more frequently than anyone else on your team. They will support you through the birthing process, acting as a coach and explaining any procedures along the way.
- An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. This person is available if you need an epidural or spinal pain medication.
- A resident. In some cases, depending upon where you give birth, a resident may be involved in your care. Residents are medical doctors who are still in training, supervised by attending physicians who provide added support to your birth experience.
At the time of your birth, additional members of the team will be present to focus specifically on your baby. Depending on the needs of your baby, this team may include nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, and pediatricians. The pediatric team will perform a thorough newborn exam before you go home.
To help you with breastfeeding, you’ll meet with a lactation consultant or registered nurse who has been trained to provide breastfeeding support. This usually happens shortly after giving birth. This person will give you one-on-one support and advice as you learn to breastfeed your baby.
Your support people
The person or people who will be with you at your birth are also important members of your birth team. They play a vital role in providing emotional and physical support and can also help communicate your needs and concerns with your hospital birth team.
Your support people may include a partner, friend, family member, or perhaps a doula. A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.
Your team at home
Your team at home is equally important. This includes friends and family members who run errands or take care of last-minute tasks. As you get closer to your due date, it’s a good idea to make a plan for who will take care of other children or pets when you go into labor. Many people go through the early stages of labor at home, so you might want people to be with you at that time.
Keep telephone numbers for friends and family handy. That way you can quickly get in contact with them if you think you’re in labor.
Your hospital’s visitor policies
Many healthcare centers have changed their visitor policies. Before you leave for the hospital, it’s a good idea to check to see how many people you can bring with you.