A GP is the doctor at your local surgery at which you are registered. He/she has the following responsibilities:
* Confirm your pregnancy and help you plan your ante-natal care
* Work closely for you along with your midwife throughout your pregnancy
* Help you if you are planning a home birth
* Help with post-natal checks for you and your baby
* Register your baby after birth at the surgery and help provide medical attention, as and when necessary
Most GPs run a baby clinic at the surgery on certain days and work with health visitors to help care for your baby.
Most surgeries operate a system whereby no appointments are necessary for small babies. However, you may have to call in the morning to let them know that you would like to see the doctor regarding your baby.
A midwife is trained to be an expert in normal pregnancy and will care for you and your baby before, during and after the birth either in the hospital or at home. In case of complications, she will work closely with obstetricians in caring for you.
Hospital midwife: Every time you go to the antenatal clinic at the hospital, you will be seen by a hospital midwife. A midwife will help deliver your baby in the hospital (normal deliveries only). After birth, you will be looked after by midwives in the hospital till the time that you are ready to return home.
Community midwife: Community midwives may be attached to a doctor's surgery where they provide ante-natal care for all mothers-to-be registered at that surgery. You will know your community midwife right from the time your pregnancy is confirmed. She may accompany you to the hospital or assist in home birth if you have chosen that option. The community midwife will visit you and your baby after birth at home for as long as she thinks necessary (usually 10 days post-natally).
An obstetrician is a doctor specialising in the care of pregnant women. Once you are booked into a hospital, you will be assigned under the care of a consultant. Every time you have an ante-natal clinic, you may be seen by a doctor who will be a member of your consultant's team. In some hospitals, you may be seen routinely by obstetricians. In others, an appointment with an obstetrician may be made only when your GP or midwife thinks it necessary.
If your delivery is normal, it will be carried out by a midwife. If however, there are complications, your baby will be delivered by an obstetrician.
A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in the care of babies and children. If your labour has been particularly long or the baby has been in distress during labour, a paediatrician will be present at the time of delivery and will check the baby immediately after birth. All newborns are checked by a paediatrician for basic checks like testing reflexes, formation of spine etc. before they go home. If you have a home birth, you may not see a paediatrician at all.
An obstetric physiotherapist specialises in advising women on how to cope with physical changes of pregnancy, childbirth and afterwards. In the absence of an obstetric physiotherapist, your midwife may advise you on suitable exercises for the time and help you with any queries you may have about settling down post-natally.
A health visitor is a fully qualified nurse or midwife who has specialist training in family health. She will contact you about ten days after your baby is born and will arrange for a home visit to see you and your baby. She will provide help and advice about feeding and caring for the child. She will also provide you with the 'red book' that is your child's health record book for years to come. You can visit your health visitor in baby clinics held on special days either at your surgery or at the health centres.