Ob-Gyn vs. Midwife what is the right choice for you? I will help you to decide by asking you the following questions:
1. What type of care do you want to receive?
This is an important question!
Ob-Gyn’s (Obstetrician/Gynecologist) tend to have busier schedules since they are fully trained surgeons who can treat pregnant women and even perform needed surgery on them. You may find that it’s a bit more challenging to make an appointment with an Ob-Gyn office. However, most Ob-Gyn’s still have good bedside manners and you will be in great care regardless. A good Ob-Gyn will make sure all questions are answered and wishes are heard. Most offices have a sonogram technician and a laboratory in the same office or in the same building, which will be very convenient for you. You don’t want to travel halfway across town only to get your blood drawn.
Midwives are trained nurses who can provide care to you throughout your pregnancy. They tend to take more time during your check-ups to listen to your wishes for your pregnancy/birth. Some midwives work in larger offices that have Ob-Gyn’s on staff for more difficult cases. Some offices have sonogram technicians and laboratories others require for you to go to another facility.
2. High-Risk Pregnancy
Are you encountering a difficult pregnancy? Maybe you are over 35yrs? Did you suddenly face a complication and need special care?
Ob-Gyn’s are trained medical professionals who can help you through the most difficult pregnancy and even perform needed surgery on you or your unborn child. They are trained to treat most conditions you may encounter such as pregnancy diabetes. In some cases, a specialist has to be consulted for your case and Ob-Gyn’s can make a good recommendation to you.
Lack of training
Some Midwives are also trained in high-risk pregnancies, but most likely they need to work closely with an Ob-Gyn due to a lack of schooling. In some cases, your midwife may need to transfer your case to an Ob-Gyn to ensure you and your baby will receive the best care possible.
3. Birthing Experience
What type of birthing experience are you looking for? Don’t know yet, not an issue…
C-Section – Gyn
Ob-Gyn’s can birth your baby through C-section. You should ask your Ob-Gyn about his/her C-section rate, especially if you are looking for a vaginal birthing experience. You should always voice what kind of birthing experience you are looking for. If you are a second, or more, time mom and you are looking for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) you should ask your provider how supportive he/she is about your plan. Furthermore, Ob-Gyn’s most likely offer pain relief to you, epidural or pain medication.
Due to their busy schedule, they are less likely to stay in the hospital room with you until its time to push or surgery needs to be performed. However, they will check on you frequently or you can call for them. A labor and delivery nurse will be on your side and also check on you regularly. Some days a hospital will be at capacity when lots of births happen at the same time, so it is always a good idea for you to bring a support person. Ob-Gyn’s allow you to have a doula, birthing coach, in the room to help you through labor. Ob-Gyn’s will birth your baby in the hospital; home births are not an option.
C-Section – Midwife
Midwives encourage vaginal births as much as possible and even are more willing to try longer before a C-section is required in your case. They can’t perform C-sections and need to consult an Ob-Gyn if your baby can’t be born vaginally. Midwives likely are supportive of your decision to try for a VBAC and will discuss this option with you beforehand. Most Midwives try medication-free pain relief before they use medications for your pain relief.
Care – Midwife
They are more likely to stay in the room with you while you are in labor and support you any way they can. However, sometimes they have multiple patients at the same time and need to care for other patients as well. They do allow you to have additional support in the room such as your doula. Some midwives agree to a home birth if that is what you are looking for. You should discuss that beforehand. I included this question on my checklist for you.
4. Affiliated Hospital
No matter what your decision is, to go with an Ob-Gyn or a Midwife, you need to make sure they are affiliated with the hospital you want to deliver at. That means they have the right to practice medicine at this particular hospital. You can find that information on their website or you can call the office to gain that information.
If you go with a larger office make sure all the doctors are affiliated with the hospital you want to deliver at. Most offices rotate the on-call doctor that means you may get another doctor to deliver your baby. Your Ob-Gyn most likely will suggest that you meet every doctor before delivering your baby to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Some Ob-Gyn’s are affiliated with a few hospitals at the same time, which is excellent for you and may make your decision easier.
Midwives need to be affiliated with the hospital you want to deliver at as well. Make sure their doctor on staff is also affiliated with the same hospital in case you need a C-Section. If your office is larger make sure you get to know all the Midwives and doctors before delivering your baby. If you are looking for a home birthing experience discuss that with your Midwife to make sure she is on the same page as you.
5. Your first impression
What does your gut say?
If you want a doctor because you feel in better hands find one you like. Ask around in your circle of friends. Read reviews about this doctor online. Mothers groups are a great place to start. Talk about others women’s experiences. Gain as much information as possible before you make an appointment. Ask all the questions you may have during the first visit. It is not advised to change providers later in pregnancy, so you want to make sure you chose the best one for you early on. However, it’s not impossible either.
Do you think a Midwife could be an excellent option for you? Maybe your friend and sister were in a care of a Midwife overseas and you wonder if it’s a good option here as well? You can ask around for referrals. You can search online for bigger offices that have an Ob-Gyn on staff if that makes you feel better. Think about what kind of birthing experience you are looking for? Hospital, birthing center, home birth… If its one of the last two a Midwife may be a better option for you.
Decide for you and your baby… Nobody Else!
It doesn’t matter who you chose just make sure it’s the right choice for you. Don’t try to please other people –maybe your whole family has been in the care of a particular provider- do what’s best for you and your baby. In the end, you are the one birthing this baby and you need to feel as comfortable as possible.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. This article is written based on experience. I have birthed two children and I have been putting a lot of thought and research into this topic.