During your pregnancy you will meet a midwife, and ultrasound practitioner. If there are concerns about the health of you or your baby then your midwife may refer you to see an obstetrician, paediatrician or anaesthetist.
Midwives are specially trained to provide advice, care and support for you and your family, before, during and after childbirth. They will help you make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy. Midwives will provide advice and parenting support for you and your newborn baby. Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and birth and will refer you to an obstetrician should you need this. Currently approximately 75% of births in the UK are facilitated by Midwives.
An Obstetrician is a hospital doctor with specialist training in the care of women in pregnancy and labour. They have specialist knowledge in the management of pregnancy complications. You will encounter obstetricians with different levels of experience known as speciality registrars and house officers. A consultant obstetrician is the more senior doctor and is on call 24 hours per day to oversee the safety of your baby.
Ultrasound practitioners are trained to perform scans. All women will be offered an ultrasound scan at 11-13 weeks gestation and a further scan at 20 weeks. If you choose to have a scan it will be used to confirm the baby’s expected date of birth and to screen for fetal abnormalities and pregnancy complications. For further information on scans please ask your midwife.
An Anaesthetist is a doctor based on the labour ward with specialist training. They provide epidurals for pain relief during labour and an anaesthetic service to women that require caesarean section or other emergency situations. They work closely with obstetricians offering advice and support in the care of women with complications or illness.
A neonatologist is a paediatrician [doctor] with specialist training in the care of newborn babies. In addition to providing support for babies on the postnatal wards, neonatologists oversee the care of ill babies on the neonatal intensive care unit.