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Your birthing team and medical support choices

Having a baby may be one of the most exciting, yet challenging experiences of your life. Whether you are brand new at labor and delivery or have had several other children, every pregnancy is unique; you have control over some issues, but others, you must take as they come. For instance, you can't do much about weight gain, although you can control your diet to make sure you are providing much-needed nutrients to your own body and your child.

You will likely be reading a lot about pregnancy and the birthing process, so you at least feel somewhat prepared and know what to expect. Each hospital or birthing center has its own protocol. You can talk with your obstetrician ahead of time to learn more about who will be part of your birthing team and also to discuss your preferences to create a healthy, peaceful birthing environment. Sadly, not all births go as planned, and some mothers or infants suffer injury due to medical negligence.

Doctors, midwives and doulas

You may want your spouse, your mother or a dear friend with you in the birthing room. In addition to those whose presence you request, there will be numerous medical team members moving in and out of your room, as well. The following list explains the duties of three people who may be part of your labor and delivery process:

  • A doula is not an official member of the medical team but is there to provide emotional encouragement and support as you navigate the birthing process.
  • A mid-wife has training to help you give birth. If you experience pregnancy complications or have a high-risk health condition, the mid-wife will likely refer you to an attending obstetrician and hospital medical staff.
  • Your family doctor may deliver your baby. Most women in Texas and other states, however, typically seek birthing care from a doctor who specializes in obstetrics.

If you hire a doula, he or she may be present alongside your mid-wife or attending physician. Some women choose to have home births, although not all states allow this. Mid-wives almost always attend home births. If an emergency situation arises where your life or your baby's life is at risk, care providers may have to make split-second decisions regarding possible surgical procedures or other birth assistance.

When a care provider fails in his or her duty

Unless you have a specific educational background in labor and delivery, all the research you do in nine months of pregnancy may not be enough to fully understand everything that is happening during childbirth. That's why you rely on licensed professionals. It is their job to recognize signs of maternal or fetal distress and to act according to the highest level of accepted safety standards to try to rectify the problem.

If you or your child suffers injury because a doctor, nurse or other medical team member was negligent, you may experience lasting consequences for the rest of your life, especially if your baby contracts cerebral palsy or some other chronic, adverse health condition. State law allows parents to seek justice on behalf of their injured children.

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HOUSTON, TEXAS 77007

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