Should I choose a midwife or a doctor?
Real Mom Problem
“My first prenatal appointment letter says, 'At the end of your visit, you will have the choice of returning for the second visit with an attending physician, resident physician, certified nurse midwife or nurse practitioner for your follow-up care.' What would you suggest I choose? I really have no clue about these things. It's my first pregnancy.”
- 1. Some moms prefer the more personalized experience they get with a midwife; others prefer the medical expertise of an obstetrician
- 2. If you want a natural birth, choose a midwife or a doctor who supports un-medicated birth with minimal interventions
- 3. If you have a high risk pregnancy, you will most likely need to see a medical doctor
- 4. Most midwives work with obstetricians, so if there are complications during your delivery, she will be able to call for medical assistance
- 5. Get referrals from friends and acquaintances and do research on various providers' history and preferences before making your choice
Real Mom Solutions
Women today have many options when it comes to prenatal care. How do you choose between a doctor and a midwife? See which type of caregiver these moms chose, and why, to help you determine what's right for you and your baby.
Choose a Midwife
I would use a midwife, because they usually try to use fewer unnecessary procedures.
Midwives generally do have a strong respect for natural birth. To be honest, they are there to honor a patient's wishes, which is something you find less and less with doctors.
Midwives are like personal nurses for pregnant women! They work directly with an OB so if there are complications the OB will step in. Midwives usually act more like a friend, get more involved, and are more natural. Seeing midwives doesn't at all mean an OB isn't involved!
I had the same OB for my first two. I liked her and felt good about my care. Then I got a midwife for my home birth and it was night and day. I never waited longer than it took to give my pee sample, I'd spend at least 40 minutes with her mostly just getting to know each other because I had no complications. I also loved that when something did show up in my urine she told me what it meant and what I needed to do to fix it. She helped me take better care of myself and understand what certain things would do, rather than waiting till it was something that needed a doctor. I felt well informed, truly cared for as a person and not just another number. I would never again see a doctor or birth in a hospital if I didn't have to.
My midwife supports medicated and natural births. I'm just looking for less medical intervention this time. Last time was a nightmare from manually dilating my cervix to breaking my water to an unnecessary forceps delivery after 15 minutes of pushing. I wasn't looking for all natural, just more natural, and that's what my midwife is all about.
I had a midwife with my first daughter. It was the best experience I had ever had and she fully supported me when I made the decision to get an epidural after 25 hours of hard labor. I was just so weak and tired, I couldn't do it anymore. After I got my epidural she continued to be the one to monitor me and our plans went accordingly. After getting a really long nap, I woke up to my little one's head crowning. Once I was able to relax, my body took off and progressed very quickly. At the time of the epidural I had been on Pictocin for 18 out of the 25 hours and still hadn't dilated past 3 1/2 centimeters.
Choose a Doctor
I have OB/GYNs because I am high risk and if there were complications during delivery the midwives can't do a c-section, so I stick with my doctors. I prefer the medical approach.
My OB's wife had homebirths. And he became a high risk OB "because so often high risk women are given absolutely no natural options, when it's perfectly reasonable that they should be." He's known around here as the one to go to if you want a vaginal birth with multiples (even triplets!), or breech. Or a VBAC, or any number of things others just won't touch.
I loved my OB. I had a ton of ultrasounds but then again, I had hyperemesis gravidarum and surgery and then I was put on bed rest so I wouldn't go into preterm labor. Plus, I always measured really small.
Personally, I am due in August and I started out wanting a midwife, but because of a past history of blood clots and my other children having birth defects, I went with an OB. Also, I was concerned that a midwife may try to push natural birth on me, which I want no part of at all. I've worked labor and delivery, and trust me, there is something that an epidural can do for you that breathing techniques and trying to meditate during the worst pain in your life just can't cover. Ultimately, I went with an OB with a more natural view (found that out through researching her on the internet) and I couldn't be happier.
I've used the same doctor twice and he is great. I'm lucky that I live in a highly populated area, so I have a large choice of providers. You should ask for references.
Either Way, Consider These Things
I highly suggest to anyone looking for a care provider to find someone who has a c-section rate BELOW 15% and is willing to do breech deliveries.
It's REALLY worth interviewing all of them to get the best fit for you.
You might also look into a doula.
It entirely depends on your philosophy of birth, who you choose; it doesn't even matter the title. Do you think birth is something that is dangerous and best managed by health care providers on your behalf? Do you think birth is a natural event best left untampered with, except in the rare case of emergency? Some doctors are midwives in disguise, very hands off the birth process. Some midwives are really MEDwives - very into "managing" labor (particularly those who work in hospitals).
Regardless of whom you choose you want to make sure they are qualified. Not every midwife has the training needed to handle situations. There are different types of midwives, so you want to make sure of their training before you hire them. Not all doctors have the training to handle low-risk births (many have never seen a labor progress without intervention during their schooling unless they studied outside of the States!), which explains our nation's 33% c-section rate.
It's not about the title of the doctor/midwife, it's about their reviews and what kind of physician they are. I would suggest you get their names and do your own research before you decide.