Preparing for the arrival of your first child is an incredible time – but it can also be a tad overwhelming.
During pregnancy, you’ll come across lots of different medical professionals and probably have more to do with the NHS than ever before. Put your mind at ease with our who’s who of the pregnancy and post-birth world…
Your GP will be a familiar face as he’ll be the same family doctor you’ve been visiting for prescriptions. He’s most likely to be your first port of call when your pregnancy test show’s your expecting and may provide your antenatal care right up until your baby arrives. If not, he’ll refer you to an obstetrician for the duration of your pregnancy.
Think of your midwife as your pregnancy BFF. She’ll be trained to make sure your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible and be on hand to answer your questions during your appointments –so fire away! You’ll either be assigned one midwife for your entire pregnancy or you may come into contact with a few different ones, but either way it will be a midwife who’ll be by your side encouraging you to breathe when you’re in labour and showing you how to feed your beautiful newborn when he arrives.
Think of your midwife as your pregnancy BFF.
An obstetrician is a type of doctor you’ll see if you have a complication, such as severe morning sickness or an existing chronic illness. Specifically trained in pregnancy and childbirth, he’ll become involved if necessary – but should everything go smoothly, you may not even cross paths.
While not strictly a medical professional, a doula is designed to provide you with emotional and/or physical support during your pregnancy, birth and afterwards. She’ll act as a caregiver (which is where the word doula comes from) and will be a motherly figure for you to lean on. It’s your decision whether or not you would like to choose a doula for additional support – research has shown that there are benefits to hiring one but prices can range from £500 to £1000.
You may have come across a gynaecologist before you fell pregnant. While not trained to deliver your baby, your gynaecologist will keep an eye on how everything is down there throughout your pregnancy.
If your obstetrician isn’t qualified to do so, your ultrasounds may be done by a sonographer. This is the person who’ll show you your growing baby for the first time and confirm your due date and baby’s gender. And give you that first photograph to take home and show everyone.
If you’re worried about your pregnancy diet – or your doctor recommends you see someone about it – a nutritionist will be your go-to. She’ll help you put together food plans to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients for your baby.
Need some advice and support as a new mum? Your health visitor is the person to call. She takes over from your midwife when your baby is a few weeks old and is full of knowledge about your baby’s needs and wants. She’ll also know about all of the nearby mum groups, your health visitor may visit you at home or you may see her at your local doctor’s or baby clinic.
Are you receiving all of the help and information you need during your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments box below.