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Prepping for your labor: Get to know who’s in the delivery room

From your OB to the midwife and everyone in between — know who they are and their roles during your labor and delivery

Here’s a rundown of everyone who may be present to usher your baby into the world.

Who will be in the delivery room?

Obstetrician

You’ve likely been meeting with your obstetrician (OB) — or several obstetricians in your doctor’s medical practice — since you found out you were pregnant.

Your OB leads your care during labor; his or her job is to keep you and your baby safe and monitor that your labor is progressing as it should. If your labor isn’t progressing at the right pace or if the baby is in distress, your OB may recommend a cesarean section (C-section) rather than a vaginal delivery.

Midwife

Midwives are trained medical professionals who typically help women looking for a pregnancy and birth with minimal medical intervention. A midwife can replace an obstetrician or work alongside one, depending on her level of certification. During labor and delivery, midwives provide hands-on physical and emotional care. A midwife might assist with breathing exercises or help you get into a comfortable position during labor.

Getting help from a midwife may reduce the chance you’ll need a C-section and can lower your risk of injury.

At Geisinger, our certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who hold a master's degree in midwifery, and who will guide you with education and experience to best fulfill your wishes for your pregnancy.

Labor and delivery nurse

You’ll be in the care of a nurse or two all throughout your labor and delivery. This nurse plays an integral role in your care, answering your questions and helping you during each stage of delivery.

Your labor and delivery nurse will act as the point person to manage your and the baby’s care and consults with your OB (when needed) on progressing through the stages of labor, getting pain medication if you choose and dealing with any complications that may arise. Often, the labor and delivery nurse acts as the go-between with you and your doctor to ensure your wishes are met wherever possible.

Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist helps manage pain during labor and delivery. Anesthesiologists administer pain medication, such as an epidural or a spinal. An epidural is numbing medication injected into a small catheter in the lower back near the spinal canal. Like an epidural, a spinal is injected directly into the spinal canal and works faster than an epidural.

In addition to this pain medication, an anesthesiologist will play a role in your care if you and your doctor decide a C-section is the best option for delivery. In this case, the anesthesiologist will administer pain medication before surgery and monitor you throughout the procedure.

Doula

A doula can work alongside your doctor or midwife to provide emotional and physical support to women before, during and after labor. A doula is trained to help a woman plan her birth ahead of time, provide physical comfort during labor, communicate with medical professionals and help the mother progress through the stages of labor.

Like a midwife, a doula may reduce the need for pain medication or a C-section.

Choosing who helps you bring your baby into the world is a very personal and important decision to make, so it’s vital that you understand what each professional can bring to your labor and delivery.

new mother staring up at newborn while nurse is holing the infant
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