Pregnant women may be cared for by an Obstetrician, a licensed physician educated to care for women during pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-delivery [postpartum]. These physicians are also trained to perform cesarean [surgical] delivery. Pregnant women may also be cared for by a licensed Family Practice Physician, or Certified Nurse Midwife, and staff registered nurses. A Family Practice Physician may care for the woman during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum, and also provide pediatric care for the infant. The Certified Nurse Midwife is a registered nurse with advanced education, certification and licensure to care for a woman during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Hospital staff registered nurses are educated, trained, and often certified, in the specialties of obstetrical and neonatal [newborn] nursing. As part of the health team, these nurses are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of quality in the care of pregnant women. The obstetrical nurse has scientific knowledge of normal and high risk pregnancy and partners with the woman, and the physician or nurse midwife to promote the healthiest outcome possible. The nurse serves as clinician, educator and advocate to meet the physical, spiritual and psychological needs of pregnant women and their families.
The pregnant woman may also receive care in the form of education from a Certified Childbirth Educator, to prepare her for the birthing experience. In the case where a pregnant woman needs surgery, she may also be cared for by Surgical Techs and Anesthesiologists [physicians specializing in anesthesia] or CRNA [certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists].
Other specialists may care for the pregnant woman based on her individual health needs. For example, a dietician may assist the pregnant woman with her dietary choices if she is also diabetic. Another example may be a Cardiologist [physician specializing in finding, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels] may provide care for the pregnant woman if she has a heart or blood vessel disorder.