Different Types of Providers


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Three kinds of providers, one common goal: a happy birth day.

At Swedish, you have choices for your prenatal care. Whether you choose midwifery, family practice, or OB/GYN care depends on your individual circumstances as well as your wants and needs for your birth. The providers may vary in terms of their specialties and their approach to providing care, below is an overview of what you can expect:

Certified Nurse-Midwife (Ballard, First Hill, Issaquah) 

Certified nurse-midwives (or CNMs) are advanced-practice registered nurses with master’s degrees specializing in women’s healthcare throughout their lives, including pregnancy and birth. Midwives spend extra time during prenatal appointments focusing on providing information to help new parents make the best decisions for their family, and are often at the bedside providing labor support. Midwives provide care during low-risk pregnancies and vaginal deliveries, and hold a holistic view of pregnancy as a normal process, while keeping an eye out for complications and collaborating with OB/GYNs to manage any additional concerns that may arise. 

Family Practice Doctors with OB (Ballard, Edmonds, First Hill, Issaquah) 

These physicians, often called FPOBs, are family doctors in every sense of the word. They provide primary care as well as prenatal care services before, during, and after pregnancy. They can deliver your baby, and then become your baby’s doctor, too. In fact, anyone in your family can see an FPOB. It’s a good option if your pregnancy is low-risk and you like the idea of “one family, one doctor.” If complications arise during pregnancy, or if you need to deliver by C-section, family practice providers partner with OB/GYNs to provide you with the safest care for your individual situation. 

OB/GYN (Ballard, Edmonds, First Hill, Issaquah) 

Obstetrician gynecologists (OB/GYNs) are physicians who specialize in women’s healthcare, including pregnancy, birth, gynecology, and breast health. They are skilled surgeons who can perform Cesarean sections, as well as gynecological surgeries, and can provide care for low-risk as well as more complex pregnancies (including multiples, and for pregnant people with pre-existing health conditions that affect their pregnancy). Every Swedish birth center always has an OB/GYN available around the clock, and they care for their own patients as well as consulting with midwives and family practice physicians in case of complications. 

Maternal-Fetal Medicine (First Hill, Issaquah)

Perinatologists (also called maternal-fetal medicine, or MFM doctors) specialize in managing the highest-risk pregnancies. They are OB/GYNs with several years of additional training and experience providing care to families with either maternal or fetal health concerns. In addition, they offer consultation to midwives, family practice providers, and OB/GYNs regarding complex pregnancy situations in their patients. You may never have a reason to see a high-risk specialist but, if needed, your midwife or physician may refer you to maternal-fetal medicine if your pregnancy requires specialty care.