Midwife

OB-GYN Vs. Midwife, Which Medical Professional is Right For You?

Are you grappling with who to hire to assist the birth of your child? It’s a big decision, I know! Here we will compare OB-GYN vs. Midwife, highlight important questions to ask these medical professionals, and distinguish the four different types of midwives so you can feel more confident in your decision!


I can remember feeling a bit overwhelmed when I first decided on a home birth. There were so many things that I didn’t know but needed to know about the birthing process.

The very last thing I wanted was to enter into labor blindly, naive, or worse, regretful of who was catching my precious baby.

Which leads me to write this post. I hope to save you some time, stress, and sleepless nights by offering you the key information and resources I gathered when deciding between an OB-GYN or Midwife.

So, let’s get to it!

Midwife super hero

The Approach of an OB-GYN

OB-GYNs are medically focused, goal-oriented, and often rely on medical interventions to assist mothers during childbirth. They hold specialized training to perform surgeries such as C-Sections.

They are trained, educated, and best suited for high-risk pregnancies. An OB-GYN’s licensing only allows for them to assist mothers in hospital settings.

BENEFIT: You are in arm’s reach to any medical interventions or advanced care that you or your baby may need during the birthing process.

The Approach of a midwife

Midwives, on the other hand, are mama-centered, and holistic-oriented. They help mothers to use their bodies naturally during childbirth.

Midwives are best suited for low-risk pregnancies, which means they are not doctors and they cannot perform C-sections. However, they can detect complications early on.

They try to avoid using unnecessary medical intervention (vacuum, forceps, epidurals, pain medications, and other labor-inducing drugs.)

Depending on their license, midwives can offer home births, birth center births, and hospital births.

BONUS: Midwives can offer longer prenatal appointments to truly get to know you as a person. They can also offer home visits, nutritional guidance & lactation support.

Healthy Baby is Everyone’s Goal

Both OB-GYNs & Midwives are focused on bringing a healthy baby into this world!

It’s just a matter of your birth wishes, medical needs, geographic location, and financial situation when choosing the right medical professional to assist you during childbirth.

Okay, that’s actually a lot to consider, but it’s worth expending the energy to find the right medical professional so that you can have the best possible childbirth experience!

SIDE NOTE: Hiring a doula is a great way to set yourself up for a positive birth experience, regardless if you go with a Midwife or OB-GYN. You can read the 9 benefits of hiring a doula here.

doula

The Four Types of Midwives:

If you decide to go the Midwife route, it’s important to understand your Midwife’s credentials. So let’s review the four different types of midwives that exist (content is pulled from the birthful podcast.)

  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). These are nurses who completed graduate-level work to become certified nurse-midwives. Generally, they practice in hospitals.
  • Certified Midwife (CM). They are only available in select states on the East Coast. These midwives have a bachelor’s degree in something other than nursing; therefore, they are required to complete additional course work and meet the same standards and pass the same exam as a CNM. Essentially, they don’t have a background in nursing.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). These midwives were once called your traditional midwives. They are trained through an accredited midwifery school or through apprenticeship. They are required to pass a standardized examination and practicum.
  • Traditional Midwife: They are un-credentialed midwives who prefer to be outside the system. They generally only attend home-births. This category of midwives is very uncommon in the U.S.
Midwife

Example interview Questions to Ask YOUR POTENTIAL midwife

I had A LOT of questions for my Midwife before hiring her. To name a few:

  • Who will be present during my labor and delivery?
  • What are the chances of you being absent during my labor and delivery? Who would be your back up?
  • In what ways will you help me during labor and delivery?
  • How will you monitor the baby and make sure everything is within healthy parameters?
  • What type of medical tools do you have available?
  • What if my baby is in a breech position?
  • What happens if things start to go south and I need more intense medical attention?
  • What is your relationship with the local hospital? What would the process look like if I needed to transfer to the hospital?
  • If my baby needs help breathing when she comes out, do you have oxygen to help her?
  • How many times have you performed CPR on a newborn?

These can be difficult questions to ask, but they need to be thought over and asked nonetheless. Particularly if you are considering an alternative birth.

home birth with midwife

Example Interview Questions To Ask YOUR POTENTIAL OB-GYN

The following questions were pulled from the birthful podcast.

  • What is your philosophy on birth?
  • Do you accept doulas in the delivery room?
  • What is your C-Section rate for first time mothers?
  • What percentage of mothers have unmedicated births under your care?
  • What is the induction rate at the facility?
  • Who is your back up if you cannot be present when I go into labor?
  • How long will I be able to have skin to skin contact with my baby after giving birth?

Three podcast episodes I found very helpful:

If you’re looking for more questions to ask potential care providers here are three terrific podcast episodes! ( Yes, if you can’t tell by now I’m slightly obsessed with the birthful podcast.)

https://birthful.com/care-provider-questions-short/

https://birthful.com/podcast-choosing-ob-midwife/

https://birthful.com/podcast-midwives/

What I truly want to say is this

What I truly want to say is that we have options during childbirth!

If the western medical model, doesn’t feel right to you, then listen to your gut and consider your options!

And the same goes for choosing an alternative birth, if that feels too risky or doesn’t jive with you, then do what’s comfortable, medically safe, and feels right for you!

The beauty in giving birth is that we have options and a lot of control over the birth experience.

We can choose who will be there to assist us, who will advocate for us, where we deliver our baby, and the atmosphere in which we want to create during labor and delivery.

And it all starts with finding the right people to support and surround us during the birthing journey!

So good luck mama in finding your medical professional, don’t give up until it feels 100% right in your entire being! ❤️

References:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/labor-and-delivery/hiring-midwife/

https://birthful.com/

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