Midwife or Doctor: How to Choose

When it comes to prenatal care, it is important to choose a practitioner who not only meets your needs, but one who is professional and respects your beliefs. Many women do not think about the type of prenatal care they want before they get pregnant; however, when the time comes to make a decision, it should be well thought out. Choosing to be cared for by a midwife or an obstetrician-gynecologist may shape how your pregnancy – and your childbirth – progresses. The last thing you need during pregnancy is to be dealing with stress or tension. That is why it is important to choose someone you are completely comfortable with.

Choosing a Practitioner

There are a few things that you’ll want to take note of when trying to decide between a midwife and an Ob-Gyn. Besides personal beliefs, some women prefer one practitioner over the other for medical reasons, experience, safety, etc. If there are specific things that you are concerned about or need special treatment for, the right practitioner will be essential for a healthy pregnancy.

Routine Approach to Pregnancy

Ob-gyns are well-equipped and take a routine approach to your pregnancy. They will answer your questions and ensure your safe progress during pregnancy. However, since they see many patients, time can be an issue. You may not necessarily get all your questions answered or concerns heard.

If you have certain pre-existing medical conditions, you may be considered high-risk during pregnancy and may need to be cared for by an ob-gyn. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc. are all considered serious medical conditions and may need more attention. An ob-gyn will have equipment and facilities available to monitor your pre-existing conditions throughout pregnancy.

Usually, midwives take on pregnancies that are not complicated, to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby. Most midwives have the back-up of a doctor for referral if a condition develops during pregnancy or birth.

Holistic Approach to Pregnancy

If you’re looking for someone who can give you time and gets as involved as you want, you may prefer to have a midwife take care of you during your pregnancy. Midwives generally have time to answer questions you may have and can ease you in your pregnancy by helping you along the way, both physically and emotionally. A midwife is able to talk to you about specific birth plans and talk you through your options.

Check List

Before you choose either an ob-gyn or a midwife, go through your checklist and decide how you want to proceed in your pregnancy. Decide on things such as where do want to give birth: in your home or in a hospital? Do you want to try a new birthing experience, such as water birth? Do you have medical problems or have a family history of diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes? Will your medical insurance cover all your needs with this practitioner? Interview doctors or midwives if you have to until you find someone you are comfortable with.

Were there any specific ways you chose a practitioner when pregnant? Let us know your experience with either practitioner.

Written by Manal, first time mom, rearing an infant.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Team Health & ParentingMidwife or Doctor: How to Choose

Comments 9

  1. Jennifer

    I’m currently seeing an OB but I think I’m gonna switch to a midwife even though I’m 6moths along. I do NOT want another induction OR cesarean!

  2. Lindsey

    Some midwives are able to take on moderately high-risk patients. Pain management is also an option with many midwives as well, including epidurals. The only thing my midwife can’t do that an OB can, is preform a cesarean alone. When my MW has a patient that needs a section, she has to call in the surgeon to assist her in the process. A healthy woman has the best chance of success for both her and her baby when she delivers with a midwife. Doctors are always there when/if needed 🙂

  3. Abbey

    Here in the uk a midwife is the first port if call. Drs only get involved for pain relief or complicated births. It’s just normal for us 🙂

  4. Traci

    Midwife all the way. During my second pregnancy I had the opportunity to have a midwife. Great support team. Also consider a doula too. They are great for support

  5. Jane

    This is my third pregnancy and my old doctor retired forcing me to look around and ponder this exact question. I was able to find a group here that has a doctor and a midwife who work closely together. I am technically the doctors patient because I do like having the option of an epidural… But, I’ve had many of my appointments with the midwife. It’s been fantastic seeing both a doctor and a midwife through this pregnancy! I feel like all of my questions and concerns (no matter how silly) are attended to.

  6. Tiana

    I agree Julie, I had an OBGYN for my son and he was AWESOME I’m going the same route with this pregnancy and she is a great Doct 😉 you must do your research…just because you have a Doct doesn’t mean you can’t have a water or unmediated birth… Most midwives are not fully trained in all areas as like a Doct so you must pray that there is no emergency during your pregnancy because your midwife will pass you right into the arms of a Doct who is better equipped when medically necessary…

  7. Julie

    A good OB/GYN will also give you time, choice, respect and care for you just as good as any midwife. You can have your desired birth as long as you voice your beliefs/preferences to your physician. I have worked in labour and delivery for years and its important not to paint all physicians (or midwives) with the same brush. I’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly for both physicians and midwives!

  8. Abbey

    I’ve chosen to have midwifery care and a homebirth this time around. I had a pretty medical-ised birth with my first child and want to avoid going down that road again. I’m young, healthy, well supported and enjoying a low risk pregnancy so this option feels right for me and this baby

  9. Amy

    I chose to use the care of a midwife during my second pregnancy. I will still give birth in a hospital because my insurance only covers “in patient” childbirth. I have loved my experience with my group of midwives. I feel very cared for, much more than I did when I delivered with an ob/gyn during my first pregnancy.

    I chose to make this decision after reading literature by Ina May Gaskin and a few other midwives. What I appreciate most is the concept that women are powerful and have to trust their bodies during pregnancy and child delivery. It’s so common for women to be afraid of childbirth these days! Afraid of pain! I think the pain is symbolic ad should be not only endured but honored.