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Who's Who: Your Care Providers

Several different health-care professionals will care for you during pregnancy and labor, and in the postpartum period:

Ob/gyns provide the vast majority of care for women in pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. They're specially trained to handle all phases of pregnancy and postpartum recovery. If you have a preexisting condition that could complicate your pregnancy, like diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you're pregnant with twins, you should see an ob/gyn. Special doctors known as high-risk obstetricians, or maternal-fetal medicine specialists, may see you for some appointments if you have a very high-risk pregnancy, such as a baby diagnosed with a serious medical condition or a history of pregnancy complications or repeated loss.

General practitioners (GPs) may alternate appointments with ob/gyns.

Midwives can provide care for women with low-risk pregnancies throughout all phases of pregnancy and the postpartum period. Certified-nurse midwives often work in a practice with ob/gyns but sometimes can practice on their own. They are registered nurses with extra education and training who are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Pediatricians are doctors with special training in the health of babies and children. All babies born in a hospital have a newborn checkup by a pediatrician before being discharged.

Neonatologists specialize in the care of newborns with problems.

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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