Choosing between an OB and a midwife is a very personal decision. If you are considered high risk, the choice should always be with an OB. If you are a perfectly healthy woman with a "routine" pregnancy, a midwife may be the choice for you. Here are the distinct differences between the two.
- Labor & delivery performed in hospital.
- Quicker to perform medical procedures to speed up labor, such as episiotomy, forceps, vacuum extraction, cesarean, etc...
- More focused on technology and medical intervention for pain management, such as the use of epidurals
- Relationship is based on a professional, medical basis.
- Labor & delivery performed at home, hospital, or in a midwife birthing center
- Relationship is professional, but also more personal and nurturing.
- Use natural methods for pain management, such as meditation, visualization, ball birthing, and water births
- Will use more natural methods to aid in delivery, such as squatting, rocking, and perineal massage.
So which is right for you? The choice you will make depends on your philosophy on childbirth. With an OB, you may have more advanced medical care, but they are usually quick to intervene and move you into options not consistent with natural childbirth. A midwife is more personal and the birthing centers that they use are home-like. However, you don’t have the comfort in knowing that if something goes wrong, the operating room is 100 feet away.
Talk to a couple of midwives and OBs in your area to see what their philosophies are. Know your options and plan accordingly. Whichever birth experience you plan for should be right for you.
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