If you are hoping to become pregnant or you already know you're going to be having a baby, it might surprise you to know that you could end up seeing more than one type of baby doctor.
Here are three types of baby doctors and why you and the baby inside your womb might have to receive care from them.
This type of baby doctor is probably the most well-known, as it is usually an obstetrician that offers prenatal care, and in most cases, delivers the baby as well. Prenatal care often includes routine prenatal checkups throughout the pregnancy during which an obstetrician will order the following tests:
- Biophysical profile
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
- Glucose tolerance test
- Ultrasound exam
These tests are performed to ensure your baby is healthy the entire duration of the pregnancy and that they will not be born with any severe birth defects.
It should be noted that some obstetricians are also gynecologists, which is a kind of doctor that deals with the female reproductive system. When a doctor practices both, they are referred to as an OB-GYN.
2. Maternal-Fetal Specialist
For some women, getting pregnant can be risky, especially if they have an underlying medical condition, such as a heart defect, diabetes, or any other condition that could affect the pregnancy. Women who endure high-risk pregnancies will usually be referred to a maternal-fetal specialist.
Some women see this type of baby doctor when their child may be at risk for a genetic condition or other type of birth defect. A maternal-fetal specialist uses 3D and 4D ultrasound along with other types of noninvasive prenatal testing to ensure the mom and the baby stay healthy during the pregnancy.
Some women are not able to carry their pregnancy to full term. In cases when the baby is born earlier than 37 weeks gestation, they are considered premature. In many cases, it is not known why a baby is born too early. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of a premature birth. These factors include:
- Being pregnant with multiples
- Substance abuse
- A history of premature pregnancies
Babies that are born too early usually end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where they are cared for by a special type of baby doctor called a neonatologist. Once your baby has been able to leave the NICU, they will most likely see a regular pediatrician at a clinic like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP for their ongoing medical care.