When to Refer Your Pregnant or Postpartum Shopper to One other Skilled


When working with pregnant and postpartum purchasers, keep in mind that you’re only one member of their healthcare group.

Your purchasers can be working with a number of well being professionals all through their pre- and postnatal expertise together with some or all the following:

  • Common practitioner
  • Obstetrician-Gynecologist
  • Midwife
  • Pelvic well being physiotherapist
  • Doula
  • Registered dietitian
  • Psychological well being skilled
  • Chiropractor
  • Therapeutic massage therapist
  • Acupuncturist
  • Urologist or urogynecologist

Nonetheless, you’re in a novel place that permits you to spend so much of time working together with your purchasers, educating them about their our bodies in the course of the prenatal and postpartum durations.

As a result of you’ll doubtless spend extra time with a shopper than every other member of her healthcare group, you’ll have many alternatives to ask how issues are going, how she’s feeling, and the way sure workout routines make her physique really feel. You might be the primary to listen to about any ache, discomfort, or uncommon signs. As her coach it’s essential that you simply perceive what’s inside and past your scope of apply, and to whom you would refer her for extra assist.

You may guarantee your pre- and postnatal purchasers get the perfect care doable by working carefully with different members of their group and recommending they work with specific healthcare professionals if they aren’t already doing so.

Let’s take a better have a look at the professionals who could also be a part of your shopper’s healthcare group.

Prenatal Care Suppliers

Your pregnant shopper can be seeing a number of of the next prenatal care suppliers, and it’s essential so that you can know what credentials and schooling every supplier has, their function, and their scope of apply. Generally, which supplier your shopper works with is essentially as much as her. She could select to see her household physician for so long as doable, or she could start a relationship with an OB-GYN, licensed midwife, or nurse practitioner instantly.

Your shopper sometimes has the next choices when deciding on a prenatal care supplier:

  • Common practitioner or household doctor
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN)
  • Midwife

Common Practitioner

Most ladies see a basic practitioner (GP) or household physician for his or her basic well being issues. Of the three medical practitioners concerned in childbirth (GP, OB-GYN, and midwife), your shopper might be most aware of the GP. Nonetheless, many GPs within the U.S. don’t present being pregnant, labor, and supply companies. If that’s the case, your shopper could select to change to a different medical physician specializing in being pregnant or childbirth.

Obstetrician Gynecologist

A obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) focuses on feminine reproductive well being organs and has accomplished 4 to 5 years of further medical coaching on this specialty after acquiring their medical diploma. An OB-GYN usually handles high-risk births and is skilled to carry out C-section births. Nearly all of girls within the U.S. see this practitioner all through their being pregnant. A perinatal specialist is an OB-GYN who focuses on high-risk pregnancies; they sometimes cope with extra difficult points, could usually act as a guide, and may be current throughout childbirth.


A midwife is a specialist in childbirth, postpartum, and well-woman healthcare companies corresponding to annual screenings, labs, and immunizations. If a pregnant girl requires care past the midwife’s scope of apply, the midwife will refer her to an OB-GYN, or a perinatologist if she has pregnancy-related problems.

There are a number of certifying our bodies within the U.S., however the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) is taken into account the gold customary. Throughout the AMCB, there are two forms of midwives: a licensed nurse-midwife (CNM) and a licensed midwife (CM).

Licensed nurse-midwives present preliminary and ongoing complete evaluation, analysis, and therapy. CNMs carry out bodily examinations. They will additionally prescribe drugs and contraceptives. They will admit and discharge sufferers in addition to order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic exams. Medicaid reimbursement for CNMs is necessary in all states, and most states mandate personal insurance coverage reimbursement. Your shopper might want to contact her insurance coverage supplier to find out what protection she receives.

CNM companies embody:

  • Main care
  • Gynecologic and household planning companies
  • Preconception care
  • Care throughout being pregnant, childbirth, and the postpartum interval
  • Care of a wholesome new child in the course of the first 28 days of life
  • Remedy of male companions for sexually transmitted infections

To discover a licenced midwife within the U.S., your shopper can go to the American Faculty of Nurse Midwives web site the place she will be able to seek for a midwife. In Canada, she will be able to search the Canadian Affiliation of Midwives. Within the U.Ok., midwives are sometimes offered by the Nationwide Well being Service, nevertheless there are impartial midwife organizations corresponding to Unbiased Midwives UK. In Australia, midwives are sometimes offered as a part of the nationwide healthcare system.

Pelvic Well being Physiotherapist

Along with her prenatal care supplier, your shopper may be working with a pelvic health physiotherapist throughout and after her being pregnant. Throughout being pregnant, a pelvic well being physiotherapist can help with any musculoskeletal ache, present guide remedy and therapeutic train, overview labor and supply positions, work on respiration, and assess her pelvic flooring for optimum perform and assist.

Within the postpartum section the physiotherapist will have the ability to assess your client’s pelvic floor muscles vaginally and rectally to determine any dysfunction corresponding to incontinence (urinary or fecal), pelvic organ prolapse (POP), diastasis recti, or pelvic ache. They will additionally overview any musculoskeletal dysfunction current corresponding to neck or low again ache, pelvic girdle ache as a consequence of sacroiliac joint dysfunction or pubic symphysis dysfunction, hip ache, and tailbone ache.

We extremely advocate that your pregnant and postpartum purchasers work with a pelvic well being physiotherapist if they aren’t already doing so. Their enter is essential since they’re those educated and certified in screening for and figuring out plenty of signs of circumstances that even medical doctors will not be conscious of.

Different Professionals Who Could Be Concerned in Pre- and Postnatal Care

For those who’re referring your shopper to any of the next professionals, and the shopper desires to make use of insurance coverage, be sure she understands that she could first have to receive a referral from a health care provider, and a few workplace visits and coverings is probably not coated by insurance coverage in any respect. Advise her to examine her protection and referral necessities for the precise practitioner or service earlier than making an appointment.

Doula or Birthing Coach

A doula, also called a delivery companion or post-birth supporter, is a non-medical assistant who helps girls earlier than, throughout, and after childbirth as wanted. Doulas present bodily and emotional assist to your entire household, not simply the mom and new child toddler. Analysis suggests doula’s assist throughout labor and childbirth usually leads to much less want for ache aid and improved maternal and fetal well being. They might provide ongoing assist to a household for a number of years.

A doula’s function can embody serving to educate the mom on her selections for delivery (like opting between a birthing middle or hospital, a water delivery or dwelling delivery, epidural or not, and so on.), serving to outline baseline targets (i.e., “you will need to me that my child be given to me instantly for skin-to-skin contact”), in-the-moment teaching for the accomplice or liked one in methods to assist and help the laboring mom, using methods for ache aid and stress administration, guiding the birthing girl to advocate for herself, providing assist and steering for establishing lactation, and so on.

Psychological Well being Skilled

Scientific psychologists and psychiatrists are who most individuals consider as psychological well being professionals, however many different professionals present remedy or counseling together with: scientific social employees, therapists, nurse psychotherapists, counselors (licensed skilled counselors, psychological well being counselors, licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors, and pastoral counselors).

Your shopper could discover it useful to work with one in every of these psychological well being professionals. Usually solely psychiatrists can prescribe drugs, although in some places psychologists may prescribe remedy.

Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist

A registered dietitian is a nutritionist (although one generally is a nutritionist with out being a registered dietitian). Each registered dietitians and nutritionists can present your shopper with useful diet data, however by regulation solely registered dietitians (known as RD or RDN) can present medical dietary remedy.


Graduates of chiropractic colleges obtain the diploma Physician of Chiropractic (DC). Chiropractors deal with points with the musculoskeletal system utilizing primarily guide remedy or manipulation remedy of the joints (primarily the backbone).

Therapeutic massage Therapist

Registered or licensed therapeutic massage therapists work on delicate tissues within the physique (muscle, fascia, tendons, and ligaments) by stroking, kneading, or making use of strain to enhance perform. There are numerous completely different sorts of therapeutic therapeutic massage therapies.


Acupuncturists are skilled in a type of conventional Chinese language drugs (TCM) known as acupuncture, a system of complementary drugs that includes pricking the pores and skin or tissues with needles. It’s generally used to alleviate ache and to deal with numerous bodily, psychological, and emotional circumstances.

Anecdotally, many pregnant girls have reported decreased nausea, ache, anxiousness, and fatigue when receiving common acupuncture therapies. That mentioned, whereas a 2014 systematic overview of acupuncture throughout being pregnant exhibits that it is extremely protected when appropriately carried out, the overview doesn’t focus on any direct advantages.

In case your shopper decides to attempt acupuncture, strongly encourage her to work with an acupuncturist who’s licensed (necessities differ relying on the geographical location) and has expertise working with pregnant girls. She ought to be sure the practitioner is aware of she is pregnant.

To Whom Ought to You Refer Your Shopper?

For those who’re undecided who’s on a shopper’s prenatal healthcare group, it might be finest to first refer her to her major prenatal healthcare supplier. The next tips may also help you identify when a shopper’s signs warrant a referral and to whom you need to refer them.

Pelvic Girdle Ache Throughout Train

Inside your scope: No.

What you need to do: Present modifications or variations for that train. If there isn’t any aid, refer.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Pelvic well being physiotherapist or musculoskeletal physiotherapist skilled with pregnancy-related points.

Who ought to refer the shopper: In lots of areas, you may refer your shopper on to a trusted physiotherapist in your referral community. Nonetheless, their companies could or is probably not coated by insurance coverage with out a physician’s referral.

Leaking Urine Throughout Train

Inside your scope: No.

What you need to do: Present modifications or variations for that train in order that leaking doesn’t happen. Keep away from any motion or train that trigger incontinence. The truth that leaking happens in any respect is purpose sufficient to imagine there’s a point of pelvic flooring dysfunction and thus, refer.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Urogynecologist or pelvic well being physiotherapist.

Who ought to refer the shopper: Generally, you may refer your shopper on to a trusted pelvic well being physiotherapist in your referral community. In some circumstances, a health care provider’s referral could also be required. Referrals to urogynecologist should be made by hospital-based physicians, household practitioners, or specialists.

Muscle Pressure

Inside your scope: Not except you’re licensed to carry out delicate tissue work.

What you need to do: Educate your shopper methods to do self-administered delicate tissue work corresponding to foam rolling and utilizing a stick or lacrosse ball. If this doesn’t relieve rigidity, refer.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Therapeutic massage therapist.

Who ought to refer the shopper: You may refer your shopper on to a trusted therapeutic massage therapist in  your referral community. Some therapeutic massage therapist settle for insurance coverage. Advise your shopper to seek out out if she’s going to want a health care provider’s referral for therapeutic massage with the intention to have it coated by her insurance coverage.

Despair or Temper Swings

Inside your scope: Not except you’re licensed to carry out delicate tissue work.

What you need to do: In case your shopper appears to exhibit despair or temper swings for longer than two weeks, or if she studies irritability, a change in urge for food, or adjustments in her sleeping patterns, you need to ask her how she’s feeling and encourage her to hunt assist from an expert.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Psychological well being skilled. Advise your shopper to additionally point out these signs to her major care doctor or search assist from an integrative drugs physician who focuses on thyroid illness. Thyroid dysfunction or postpartum thyroiditis can contribute to anxiousness or despair, and the shopper may have to begin remedy or have her dose adjusted throughout or after being pregnant.

Who ought to refer the shopper: Generally, you may refer your shopper on to a trusted psychological well being skilled in your referral community who focuses on points associated to being pregnant and postpartum. In some circumstances, a health care provider’s referral could also be required. Nonetheless, except you’ve got an amazing relationship with a psychological well being skilled who focuses on these points, it’s in all probability finest to that your shopper receive a referral from her OB-GYN, who can display screen for psychological well being issues and discuss with a psychological well being skilled specializing in psychological well being points associated to being pregnant and postpartum if obligatory.

Gestational Diabetes

Inside your scope: Not except you’re an train physiologist.

What you need to do: Ask if the physician who recognized her referred her to an expert to handle the situation.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Registered dietitian, train physiologist with a grasp’s or doctoral-level diploma, or a licensed healthcare skilled with graduate coaching in train physiology.

Who ought to refer the shopper: If the physician who recognized her hasn’t referred her to a registered dietitian, you may recommend she ask for a referral. Her physician must also have the ability to refer her to an train physiologist.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Inside your scope: Not except you’re an train physiologist.

What you need to do: Modify programming and ensure your shopper is respiration correctly to keep away from extra intra-abdominal strain (the valsalva maneuver). You may work in collaboration with a pelvic well being physiotherapist for modifications if wanted.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Pelvic well being physiotherapist.

Who ought to refer the shopper: Generally, you may refer your shopper to a trusted pelvic well being physiotherapist in your referral community. In some circumstances a health care provider’s referral could also be required.

Musculoskeletal Considerations and Accidents

These could embody neck ache and complications, higher again or rib ache, carpal tunnel syndrome, low again ache or pelvic girdle ache (SI joints or pubic symphysis dysfunction), and hip ache.

Inside your scope: Not except you’re an train physiologist.

What you need to do: Modify programming as wanted.

To whom ought to shopper be referred: Musculoskeletal physiotherapist skilled with pregnancy-related points, or pelvic well being physiotherapist.

Who ought to refer the shopper: Generally, you may refer your shopper on to a trusted nurse practitioner, gynecologist, bodily therapist, or major healthcare supplier in your referral community who could then refer her to a bodily therapist.

In the long run, having an intensive and diverse community of trusted wellness professionals not solely helps your purchasers get the whole care they want, but additionally locations you as a accountable and critical skilled with connections and an intensive community; this will increase your credibility and worth as a health professional, and the educational alternatives that can come from working hand-in-hand with different well being professionals will positively impression your practices and enterprise in methods that can shock you.


Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C. Steady assist for girls throughout childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 17;10:CD003766.

Park J, Sohn Y, White AR, Lee H. The security of acupuncture throughout being pregnant: a scientific overview. Acupunct Med. 2014 Jun;32(three):257–66.

Sorts of Psychological Well being Professionals. Psychological Well being America. 2013 [cited 2017 Jun 30]. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.internet/types-mental-health-professionals

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