OB/GYN or Midwife:

Making the Right Choice: OB/GYN or Midwife

We want to empower you and your partner to make an informed decision regarding the care you receive before, during, and after your pregnancy. There are two main sources that provide pregnancy care: OB/GYN or midwifery services. While both of these options are suitable, which one you choose can be based on your individual needs and preferences, and there are some important similarities and differences between the two.

Education & Expertise

An essential factor in deciding between an OB/GYN or midwife is their respective medical backgrounds and expertise. While both are highly skilled in handling deliveries, it’s noteworthy that OB/GYNs undergo extensive training, including eight years of education (four years of medical school followed by four years of residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology). On the other hand, midwives, particularly Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), complete nursing school followed by a specialized midwifery graduate program. Although OB/GYNs typically have a more rigorous educational background, midwives are well-equipped to support low-risk pregnancies and offer comprehensive care throughout the childbirth process.

Distinguishing Approach: Emotional Support and Care Management

Midwives are known for providing extensive emotional support throughout the entire pregnancy journey, from prenatal care to postpartum support. The Midwife movement was a reaction to medical interventions that some women felt were not medically necessary. For example, in the 1960s through the present, many women have had concerns about being forced to lay on their back during labor. According to consumer reports of obstetrics practices, hospitals in West Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, and Nebraska have C-sections rates higher than 30%, which is a comparatively high rate of intervention than other states. All of these concerns led some women to favor natural birth.

With a more personalized and involved approach, midwives often advocate for natural childbirth, although they are also equipped to administer epidurals and medications as needed. In contrast, OB/GYNs generally follow a more standardized care approach, with routine appointments scheduled periodically throughout the pregnancy. During labor and delivery, both a nurse midwife or OB/GYN may be present, although the nurse midwife might be assigned to more than one patient at a time. However, it’s important to note that if you express your preferences to your doctor, the doctor will likely respect them unless there is a compelling medical reason to intervene.

Services Offered: Understanding the Scope of Care

Both OB/GYNs and midwives provide a comprehensive array of services, including family planning, pre-conceptual care, delivery, and postpartum care. Additionally, they both offer services related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s important to note that midwives primarily handle low-risk pregnancies, while high-risk pregnancies typically require the specialized care of an OB/GYN. When considering the type of care you need, understanding the risk assessment of your pregnancy is crucial in making the right choice. If a C-section is required for your delivery, an OB/GYN is the only option.

OB/GYN or Midwife: which one for you?

At Birth Choice, we understand the significance of prioritizing your health and empowering you to make the right decision for you. Our dedicated team is committed to supporting you throughout your pregnancy journey.

You can check out this decision making resource to understand the similarities and differences between an OB/GYN or midwife. If you have concerns about what type of care is better for you throughout your pregnancy, take the proactive step and book an appointment with us today.