OB/GYNs. CNMs. CPMs. DEMs. What do all of these acronyms mean?
And how do you decide which one is important when you’re expecting your bundle of joy? All of these providers are experts in their roles. The great news is that Las Vegas has a plethora of wonderful providers for your pregnancy and birth.
Classifications of Providers
Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYN) practice and provide their services in a hospital and/or private office setting. An OB/GYN has completed years of medical school. They can perform surgeries such as a cesarean section, and administer and prescribe medications. OB/GYN standards of care are clinical and follow licensure and regulations set forth by governing bodies.
Midwives have different classifications: Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), and Direct Entry Midwife (DEM). A midwife follows the Midwifery Standards of Care; and practices a more natural approach to the birthing realms of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. A Certified Nurse Midwife is the highest level of midwifery. They have completed licensure as a registered nurse, as well as completion in a midwifery studies program. CNMs are qualified to prescribe medications and treatments. They are recognized to operate legally in all 50 states and hold state licensure.
Certified Nurse Midwives may attend births in hospitals, homes, and birthing centers. A Certified Professional Midwife has achieved certification set forth by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). A CPM has the knowledge and skills to practice as an independent midwifery practitioner. Certified Professional Midwives conduct service in-home or in a birthing center, depending on state regulations. Direct Entry Midwives are modern-day traditional midwives. Direct Entry Midwives bring experience that is organically curated. DEMs attend home births.
Choices in Birthing Locations
In Las Vegas, there is the opportunity to give birth safely in a home, hospital, or birthing center with a certified and credentialed provider.
In a hospital setting, there is a team of nurses and doctors that oversee your birth around the clock the moment of admission. During the hospital stay, there’s consistent monitoring for the birthing person and the baby. A sense of security might be found in the hospital for any unknowns and emergencies. The financial aspect of insurance paying for some, most, or all of the birth and stay may also be a factor.
There’s the comfort and serenity of being in a familiar environment, as one receives in the home birth setting. With the selected birthing team by the birther’s side, the overall atmosphere has an aura of empowerment and grounding. In a home birth setting, the birthing person sets the tone for the experience, and the team is there to assist as warranted.
A birthing center is often viewed as the “best of both worlds” and a bridge between having a home and hospital birthing experience. Giving birth in a birthing center can create the home birth atmosphere while giving the medical reassurances of a hospital. Nevada’s first birthing center opened its doors in Spring 2021.
Other Helpful Experts
You’ve found your provider and you’ve selected your birthing space, what about the other aspects of your pregnancy? Outside of the standard monthly check-ups, there’s a world ready to pamper and dote on you and that belly. Your birth team doesn’t end with a provider. In fact, that’s only the beginning.
A labor doula is your guide throughout your pregnancy. A labor doula checks in with you after every prenatal appointment to answer questions and ease concerns. During the childbirth experience, your doula is your connection with your inner warrior.
Childbirth educators are the educational vessels for pregnancy and childbirth. Taking a childbirth education course in your pregnancy will help you feel empowered and knowledgeable going into the birth. Your childbirth educator is an expert in the field of education on the body, the baby, and the birth.
Seeing a lactation professional prenatally sets you up for breastfeeding successes as soon as your baby is born. With the knowledge and support of an International Board Certified Lactation Counselor (IBCLC), one can go into the postpartum period with confidence in feeding their baby. Families that qualify for WIC have access to an IBCLC for no charge. Additionally, Southern Nevada Breastfeeding Coalition has a resource list for lactation professionals in the Las Vegas Valley.
A birth photographer captures intimate moments of labor and birth through the private eyes of a lens. Birth photographers are hired prenatally and are on-call for labor and birth. Making the investment to add a birth photographer to your birthing experience allows for reminiscing and recollection of an experience for years following.
You’re in the Driver’s Seat
You’re in the driver’s seat of your birth experience! The care you receive prenatally can affect your birthing experience, as well as your postpartum period. Birth is an occurrence that will stay with a person for the rest of their life. A word, a statement, a receptionist, a nurse, or a provider can be impactful. Selecting your provider is just like speed dating, if it doesn’t feel right, move on to the next one. No matter where you choose to say “Welcome, Baby!”, remember to make the space your own.
If you’re ready to dive into the support of a doula, give Vegas Family Doulas a call. We’re on-call for you every step of the way, and treat you like the VIP you are!