Finding a Practitioner
If you are happy with your gynecologist, but he or she is not an obstetrician, ask for two or three referrals. Friends and family members that have recently given birth are another great resource. They can give you a candid assessment of the provider's personality and procedures before you invest time in a visit.
You can locate an OB-GYN or CNM in your area by logging onto the websites of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the American College of Certified Nurse Midwives.
If you are concerned about a physician or want to file a complaint, contact your state medical board. The Federation of State Medical Boards lists member contact information (click on "State Medical Board Information" then "Board Directory").
To verify a CNM's certification, go to the American College of Nurse Midwives Certification Council and select "Verify Certification." If you want to check a CNM's medical background or file a complaint, call the ACNM at (202)-728-9860. They can tell you which regulatory agency in your state to call.
Most large insurance companies cover the costs associated with prenatal visits to an OB-GYN or CNM, and a hospital birth.
According to an informational handout available from ACNM, 33 states mandate private insurance reimbursement for nurse-midwifery services, and Medicaid reimbursement is mandatory in all states.
It is always a good idea to contact your insurance company directly and verify the details of your plan. If an insurance employee tells you that midwifery care is not covered, confirm the information by speaking with a manager.
"We have made great headway," says Summers, "but there are still people answering phones at insurance companies who think midwifery is illegal or only for home births. So you may have to push a little."
If you are pregnant and uninsured, you may qualify for Medicaid. If not, call the obstetrical practice or birth center you are interested in and ask if they have a sliding fee scale. If the answer is no, ask that they refer you to another practice or nonprofit women's health organization that has one.