Two thousand one hundred babies are born at St. Mary Medical Center every year, and many at times when the patient's doctor can't be there. A laborist is at the hospital every day and every night, so a patient sees a physician at any time. Dr. Roman Tatarowicz, chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, says a laborist is a medical doctor specializing in obstetrics.
The patient's regular ob/gyn could be delayed for a number of reasons, by normal office hours, time off, or she could be performing other procedures. The laborist cares for the patient until that physician is able to get to the hospital and take over the woman's care. During this time, the laborist and woman's physician are in contact so everyone involved is up to date on what's happening.
The laborist can handle admissions, monitor the labor process and answer any questions the patient may have, easing the woman's anxiety. He says the emphasis is on safety, as an obstetrician is always available and can deliver the child naturally or by cesarean should the need arise.