Choosing Between a Midwife and an OB-GYN
The use of midwives has seen a massive increase in popularity throughout the last decade. Countless people are realizing that hospital births aren’t the only option out there, and that in many cases using a midwifery practice might make more sense (both financially and logically).
However, how do you determine which option is best for you? It’s no secret that the popularity of using midwives is growing (the trend has been consistently positive since the 1980s). But what about using an OB-GYN? OB-GYN births still account for the majority of births in the United States. What’s the difference between the two? Which option is better?
Midwives vs. OB-GYNs: Primary Differences
Midwives and OB-GYNs differ in that midwives are some of the only medical professionals in the world who have advanced degrees of study that specifically deal with pregnancy. Most midwives start as RNs (registered nurses), and then return to college to earn an advanced degree in being a midwife.
OB-GYNs, are obviously medical doctors, with the main difference between them and midwives being that they are able to intervene during pregnancies. Simply put, they can surgically intervene during a high-risk pregnancy, whereas midwives don’t have this particular skill set.
Apart from these differences though, both medical professions aim to deliver the highest care possible for their patients. As leading midwifery practice Hearth and Home puts it, they begin care early in pregnancy and follow the same pregnancy schedule as any other medical provider (i.e. OB-GYN).
Benefits of Using a Midwife
One of the main benefits of using a midwife, is that in all likelihood you will receive a much higher (i.e. personalized) level of care than you would if you went the standard hospital route of doing things. The key difference between a midwife and a normal doctor is that midwives love to help would-be mothers make informed decisions (in direct opposition to doctors, who notoriously make decisions for their patients).
The actual birthing experience is also different with a midwife. Typically, patients who go with a midwifery practice have much more comfortable birthing experiences than those who do so in a hospital. This is mainly due to the more personalized level of care, and also due to the fact that you actually have a relationship with your midwife team (it’s not a random team of nurses that you’ve never met before).
You probably don’t already know this, but America has one of the highest (if not the most prevalent) rate of birth interventions in the entire world. Why is this? Most people place the blame on the exorbitant amount of drugs that are used during the birthing process. Maybe this is one of the main reasons why more and more women are turning to midwifery practices to help manage their pregnancy.
Using a large amount of drugs when giving birth can cause complications, which in turn lead to a direct (and oftentimes immediate) need for medical intervention. Midwives are experts at dealing with natural pain management, and knowing exactly what/how much prescription drugs to give a patient.
Doctors on the other hand, are known for prescribing patients anything and everything in order to increase their comfort level (which can cause complications as we’ve already mentioned).
How to Choose a Midwifery Practice
Keep the following tips in mind when choosing a midwife to manage your pregnancy. Also remember, that all practices are different and offer different levels of care. Do your research before choosing your provider, because it can make all the difference when your delivering your baby.
- What is the specific certification that the midwife has? What certifications do other members of the team have?
- What is the practice’s approach to the pregnancy process?
- What is the general experience level of the practice?
- Do they offer pain management?
- Can they write prescriptions?
- Does the practice have any hospital or medical practice affiliations?
- What is the contingency plan of the practice?
- What will they do in the event of an emergency?
- Where is the practice actually located? Is it in your direct area?
- Do they have a special birthing area? Or do they only provide in-home services?
These are all important questions to look into before going with any one provider. There are a lot of midwifery practices out there (and that number will most likely continue to grow over the coming years).
We recommend doing as much research as possible, in order to make a smart (and informed) decision regarding the management of your pregnancy.