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The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy Journey

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyObstetricians are health providers who specialize in obstetrics (all things related to childbirth and women giving birth). These providers are specialists who focus exclusively on the health and wellness issues related to pregnancy. 

An Obstetrician’s Role Lasts Throughout the Pregnancy

An OB’s role starts from the moment you get pregnant or plan to become pregnant. They provide prenatal care that spans from consultations regarding healthy lifestyle choices to the delivery of the baby.

How Does an OB’s Role During Pregnancy Differ From a Midwife?

While both can deliver babies, an obstetrician can offer a broader range of care than that of a midwife.

Pre-Pregnancy: OB’s Initial Role

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyAt first, an obstetrician serves as a general counsel for your pregnancy journey. Later on, the OB’s role shifts towards greater activity, monitoring your pregnancy, and – ultimately – delivering the baby.

Pre-Pregnancy Counseling

The goal of pre-pregnancy counseling is to address potential setbacks to the pregnancy and minimize any would-be risks. Even before you speak with an OB, reaching out to your primary health provider to let them know about pre-existing medical conditions is even better.

This allows them to take necessary precautions against anything that could impact the pregnancy. They can also transfer this information over to your OB, making the pre-pregnancy counseling process even more streamlined.

It doesn’t have to be. It can be part of your general wellness check-up. If you have trouble conceiving, communicate this to your physician during your wellness visit. Regardless of whether or not your primary care provider is an obstetrician or not, they will play a pivotal role in setting up your pregnancy success.

The doctor can help give suggestions on how to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant, transfer information to your obstetrician, or identify an appropriate test to find out if there is a medical reason behind this difficulty.

Pregnancy Planning Services

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyThere are some steps you can take to make sure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American College of Obstetricians make several recommendations for women wishing to become pregnant. These include:

  • Undergoing medical testing
  • Getting a general health screening
  • Obtaining an up-to-date immunization record
  • Suggestions for healthier dietary and lifestyle choices
  • Reviewing personal safety concerns 

Preconception Checkup

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyAt your preconception checkup, your obstetrician checks your general health to ensure your body is prepared for pregnancy.

You might discuss the following with your provider:

Folic acid. OBs can recommend necessary folic acid intake. Every cell in your body needs folic acid for healthy growth. Taking it before getting pregnant and in the early stages of pregnancy helps protect the baby from birth defects related to the brain and spinal cord by up to 70%.

Pre-existing health conditions. OBs take a look at any pre-existing health conditions that might interfere with the pregnancy.

Infections. OBs also check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that might negatively impact the pregnancy.

Family health history. OBs can delve into any health conditions that permeate the family history or that of your partner’s family.

Medicines you take. Any medicines you take can be reviewed by an OB to ensure that they are safe for your baby. This includes over-the-counter meds, supplements and herbal products.

Vaccinations. If you’re behind on any necessary vaccinations, an OB can help get you caught up.

Lifestyle Habits. If you have unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, and abusing prescription or recreational drugs, an OB can help you quit.

Unsafe exposure. Some common chemicals, like cleaning products, paint and weed killer, can be harmful to your baby’s health during pregnancy. Common exposure locations include school, work and home. An OB can discuss how to keep your baby safe from unsafe exposure.

Birth Control. Contraceptives often interfere with the body’s natural hormones. Due to this, your provider might suggest that you stop using birth control for a few months before trying to get pregnant. This lets the body have a few normal menstrual cycles.

Your obstetrician may:

  • Give a physical exam: checking the blood pressure and measuring your weight.
  • Give a pelvic exam: checking to ensure a healthy vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries.
  • Give a Pap test or Pap smear: collecting cells from the cervix to check for cancer.
  • Give a blood test and check your Rh factor.

If a genetic health condition runs in the family, an OB could refer you to a genetic counselor.

Mid-Pregnancy: OB’s Role During Prenatal Screening

After confirming your pregnancy, your OB does prenatal screening to monitor you and your developing baby’s health. During each trimester, an OB will monitor your progress. They will look for any issues that could impact the delivery of the baby.

Labor: OB’s Role During Childbirth

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyObstetricians provide clinical care and support for general deliveries. During labor, an OB can introduce helpful interventions like pain relief or labor-assistance applications like forceps or vacuum extraction.

OBs are also skilled at identifying and preventing high-risk factors during a pregnancy. In the event of a high-risk pregnancy, an OB can help induce labor or perform a C-section (cesarean delivery), which largely depends on the specific circumstance.

Postpartum: OB’s Final Role After Pregnancy

After labor, obstetricians are still there to ensure you and your baby continue to remain healthy.

You’ll need to schedule an appointment with your obstetrics physician a few weeks after childbirth. These back-and-forth consultations can last from a few weeks to a few months.

Postpartum Healthcare Issues that OBs Address

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyA physical exam may include checking your abdomen, vagina, uterus and cervix to determine the state of your physical recovery. Here are examples of healthcare issues that your obstetrician can address:

  • Sepsis or infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • High blood pressure
  • Postpartum depression – feelings of loneliness or sadness after birth
  • Questions surrounding birth control methods 

How Do I Choose the Right Obstetrician?

The Role of an Obstetrician During Your Pregnancy JourneyRemember this: your obstetrician will be with you for over 9 months. That’s why selecting someone you and your partner feel comfortable with is important.

Choosing the right obstetrician can make the entire process more enjoyable, reduce stress, and lead to the best possible delivery of your newest family member. If possible, find an obstetrician or OB/GYN before getting pregnant. This way, you are set up for success from the very start.

Ask friends or family who they’d recommend, or go online to read patient reviews. Discuss with your primary care physician or other healthcare providers for more recommendations. Consider what’s important to you during pregnancy and childbirth. A checklist can help.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I feel comfortable with this healthcare provider? Does my partner also feel comfortable and informed?
  • Does this healthcare provider answer my questions and explain things clearly?
  • What are this healthcare provider’s views on vaginal delivery, unmedicated birth, or other aspects that are important to me?
  • Who handles my care if my preferred provider isn’t available?

Find the Right Obstetrician at Northland Women’s Health

At Northland Women’s Health, you can find the right obstetrician who will compassionately help you throughout your pregnancy journey.

Questions or Concerns? Ready to find the perfect OB for your journey through pregnancy?

Northland Women’s Health Care 


Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665