Your OBGYN is trained in women's reproductive health and provides care during pregnancy, birth, and just after the baby is born. Upon receiving a terminal prenatal diagnosis, you'll want to find an OBGYN you trust, who supports your needs, and who you feel completely comfortable seeing before committing to them through your pregnancy.
A care coordinator helps you get the support and services you need to assist throughout your pregnancy and delivery. They often work alongside a perinatal social worker and may arrange for a care conference to ensure your care team understands the diagnosis, birth plan, and wishes for after your baby is born.
PERINATAL SOCIAL WORKER
A perinatal social worker provides you and your family with counseling, case management, and advocacy to ensure that you are supported with competent, compassionate care. When a perinatal loss occurs, the social worker helps you cope with and express your grief as you learn to live with a new normal.
PERINATAL HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE
Palliative care focuses on the comfort of your baby through the relief of symptoms, pain, and conditions that may arise from his or her diagnosis. It also seeks to provide a support system for bereaved families, helping you make meaningful plans to honor your baby's life, birth, and death. Perinatal hospice care is often comprised of a number of palliative care services, both medical and emotional, that are provided by a group of physicians, nurses, chaplains, and bereavement counselors to you and your baby.
While not always specialized in palliative care, pediatricians can still play an important role in your baby's care, especially in cases where he or she lives longer than anticipated. If you, your family, or your baby's siblings have already established a relationship with a pediatrician, he or she may often help in monitoring your baby's health, proposed interventions, and the well-being of siblings. They may also provide care and insight into any possible effects of grief that children may show in the time following the baby's death.
A perinatologist, also referred to as maternal-fetal medicine physician, works in conjunction with your obstetrician and is able to provide care for both you and your unborn baby in cases—such as terminal diagnoses or high-risk pregnancies—where specialized care is required.
A pediatric geneticist specializes in medical genetics and counseling to help provide a better understanding of a genetic disease and its implications. In addition to advising on necessary tests and confirming the diagnosis of a genetic disorder, pediatric geneticists can help you guide and plan for a disease's prognosis. They may also advise on whether a condition is heredity and offer further testing.
A chaplain provides spiritual and emotional care to all patients and families who seek it, regardless of religious affiliation. During times of joy or suffering, calm or crisis, at the beginning of life or the end of life, chaplains may assist in your journey through prayer, counseling, religious sacraments, or simply by listening to your story.
Also known as a labor companion or labor support assistant, a doula is a trained professional who acts as your advocate during pregnancy and birth. Though knowledgeable in medical aspects of labor and delivery, doulas do not provide medical care; rather, they provide emotional, physical and educational support focused on helping you have a safe birthing experience that reflects the wishes expressed in your Birth Plan. Doulas remain close during delivery to aid with comfort, pain relief, breathing techniques, relaxation methods, and more. A good doula can help parents explore ways of making pregnancy as personal and meaningful as the birthing experience.
LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST IN WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND PSYCHOLOGY
This role provides specialized support focused on the unique circumstances you experience before, during, and after pregnancy. Loss of an infant has the potential to have a large psychological impact not only on mothers and fathers individually, but also on the relationship of the couple. Throughout the pregnancy and after the death of the infant, a licensed psychologist can help you process grief, prenatal and postnatal mood and anxiety, and relationship challenges. In the event of a future pregnancy, they also provide psychological support during transitions in motherhood.