Labor and Delivery: 10 Surprising Things You Need to Know

3. Obstetricians provide the majority of prenatal care. Although midwives received very high ratings in terms of the quality of this care, obstetricians still provided prenatal care to three-fourths (77 percent) of mothers and delivered 80 percent of the babies of survey mothers. Midwives provided prenatal care to 13 percent of mothers and attended 10 percent of the births. Family physicians provided prenatal care for seven percent of our respondents and attended four percent of their births. While a small number (five percent) of women relied on doulas (trained labor assistants), this type of caregiver was rated highest in terms of quality of supportive care during labor. Learn more about care providers for pregnancy and birth.

4. Labor induction is skyrocketing. Almost half (44 percent) of all mothers and half (49 percent) of those giving birth vaginally reported that their caregiver tried to induce labor, most commonly through the use of artificial oxytocin. Almost one-fifth (18 percent) of mothers cited a nonmedical explanation as the only reason for the attempted induction, and another 16 percent cited a nonmedical reason along with a medical indication as the reason for the attempted induction. Five percent reported choosing labor induction to be able to give birth with the caregiver of their choice. In four out of five women, the induction did in fact cause labor to begin. Learn more about labor induction.

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