Your first pregnancy will likely result in a lot of questions, but few are more pressing than deciding between using an obstetrician or a midwife for your delivery. The following guide can answer some of your questions so you can make an informed decision.
What is the main difference between a midwife and an OB-GYN?
An OB-GYN is a medical doctor with a degree in medicine and a focus upon obstetrics and gynecology. This means they have an advanced medical doctorate, along with the additional schooling and training that goes along with it. Midwives generally have a bachelor or nursing degree. They then get a master's degree in midwifery. Upon graduation, they must obtain there certification to practice, which makes them a Certified Nurse-Midwife. Both doctors and midwives are licensed and regulated.
Are midwives an option for every pregnancy?
Midwives primarily only attend normal, healthy pregnancies. Their main purpose is to help you through the pregnancy and birth in a hands-on manner with minimal medical intervention. OB-GYNs can aid in normal births, but their main skills are helping with difficult births or abnormal situations. For example, if a cesarean section is necessary, you will need to have an OB-GYN. Some midwives work in partnership with a hospital or specific doctor, so you can have the benefits of both a midwife for the normal aspects of your pregnancy, and an OB-GYN if an emergency arises.
Do you have to have a home birth to use a midwife?
For some, a midwife is synonymous with a home birth. This is because midwives are the normal choice for those wishing to give birth at home, not because midwives only do home births. You also have the option of using a midwife if you choose a hospital birth, since many hospitals now have midwives on staff. There is also the birthing center option. These medical establishments only cater to birthing, so they do not have the institutional feel of most hospitals. They often focus on natural birth options, but there is often a doctor on staff in case a problem arises.
Are you looking for a confidant and an advocate?
Midwives often spend more one-on-one time with their clients. This means they are better able to offer advice, answer questions, and respond to your fears. Midwives often take on the role of a new parent counselor, advising on everything from nutrition to exercise. While a doctor may be able to offer advice, they often do not spend as much time on this aspect compared to a midwife.
To learn more about obstetrics, contact a doctor like George L Stankevych MD.