Birthing - Birthing assistants

Along with the choices one can make on where to give birth, one also has choices for who will assist.


Traditional medical practitioners, obstetricians, are fully trained medical doctors who specialize in pregnancy and birth. They usually assist in deliveries in the hospital, either in delivery rooms or birthing rooms. There may be some in your community, though, who will perform home births.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners have several years of medical training although there are procedures that a doctor can perform that a nurse practitioner cannot. The nurse practitioner specializing in birthing will be able to assist in all deliveries, with an attending physician for caesarian sections.

Although arrangements vary from clinic to clinic, there is usually one obstetrician on staff with several nurse practitioners. It is likely that you would only see the doctor once or twice during the course of your pregnancy. The nurse practitioner would be able to handle most of your concerns.


Certified midwives may also hold nursing degrees, although this is not a requirement in all states. They will assist in all deliveries, but, like the nurse practitioner, cannot perform caesarian sections. They are trained for all aspects of pregnancy and delivery.

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