Prenatal Care Health Center

I have heard of other health care professionals aiding in childbirth. What are my options?

  • There are several types of health care professionals who help pregnant women in various ways, including in the delivery of their baby. These professionals may be obstetricians, family physicians, midwives and nurse-midwives. Some of these individuals will work from or in your home if you wish to have a home birth. Consult your doctor on your options and speak to others who have used alternatives. Research your options as well, and make sure you feel safe and comfortable with your decisions.

What are some conditions that may cause a high-risk pregnancy?

  • Preeclampsia is a syndrome that includes high blood pressure, urinary protein and changes in blood levels of liver enzymes during pregnancy. It can affect the mother's kidneys, liver and brain. If left untreated, the condition could be fatal for both the mother and her baby. Eclampsia is a more severe form of the condition that causes seizures and coma in the mother.
  • Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only pregnant women can develop. If a woman gets diabetes while she is pregnant and has never had the condition before, it is gestational diabetes. Many  women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow a treatment plan from their health care professional.
  • HIV/AIDS damages and kills cells of the body's immune system, progressively destroying the body's own ability to fight off infection. Women can give HIV to their babies while pregnant, while giving birth or through breastfeeding.
  • Preterm labor is labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The baby has not yet fully developed and grown at this time, so it may be unable to survive outside of the womb. Doctors will often take steps to try to stop labor if it occurs before this time. Certain infections, a shortened cervix and previous preterm birth may raise a woman's risk of experiencing preterm labor.
Review Date: 
August 9, 2012
Last Updated:
January 15, 2014