Midwives are trained to help women while they are in labor. They perform an important service, but they are different from doctors. It takes a lot of education and training to become a midwife, but even more training to become a physician.
Some study for eight years before they are able to get all of the right certifications to work as midwives in America. There are different grades of midwives, some of whom have nursing degrees as well as specialized midwife training. Doctors may need to study and train for up to eleven years before they are qualified to work as physicians.
Doctors and midwives aren't always at odds with each other, but it does happen, mostly because a lot of midwives view the process of childbirth differently than doctors. Midwives see it as a natural process, while doctors view it as a medical issue.
Also, doctors, who tend to have more training in more areas of healthcare, may feel that midwives are taking on doctor roles and taking away patients from OB-GYNs and obstetricians.
Are you working with a midwife during your labor, or sticking with your doctor? If you haven't made your mind up, this list may help you to decide. Today, we want to talk about the things that midwives do that just might drive doctors crazy.
15 Some Midwives Are Short On Credentials
Credentials needed to work as a midwife vary from nation to nation. This means that some places may have midwives with a lot less training and education than others. Doctors in some countries may not think that the credentials for midwives are rigorous enough. They may view midwives as being ill-prepared for the myriad risks associated with labor and childbirth.
In the USA, statistics show that home births are less safe than births led my midwives. According to The New York Times,
there is a New England Journal of Medicine study which shows that the chances of a baby perishing during labor or within 30 days afterward are 2.4 times greater with a home birth than a hospital birth.
The study featured data about eighty thousand pregnancies in the State of Oregon. Out of hospital deliveries are simply not as safe in Oregon and these statistics may show that there is generally a higher risk of problems with home births in the USA than with hospital births.
One troubling fact from the study is that there is a higher risk of post-natal seizures with home births. There's also a bigger chance that newborns will require transfusions or ventilators after home births.
14 They Might Not Give Pain Meds
Doctors are able to administer pain relief to patients and they decide when to do the more extreme forms of pain relief during labors, such as epidurals. Midwives may administer some medications when they assist with births in hospital settings.
In home settings, access to pain relief medication from a midwife may be hard to come by and this may bother doctors. According to The Globe and Mail, midwives generally follow a non-intervention approach. This means that they guide natural childbirth and try to encourage "non-medication" pain management. If you're planning the birth of your child, you should consider the issue of pain relief.
Are you committed to a medication-free childbirth at home, or would you feel frightened if you had to give birth at home without pain relief medication? The middle road might be giving birth at a hospital with a midwife in attendance.
Then, you'll be able to access pain relief if you need it. Of course, if you go with a doctor-led birth, you'll have all of the pain relief options.
A home birth is very different than a hospital birth. It's important to educate yourself, especially if you're expecting your first baby and you don't know what labor will feel like.
13 Midwives May Be Anti-Vaxxers
Are you an anti-vaxxer? If you are, you may not realize that a lot of midwives feel the same way about vaccinations. According to a report at the Slate.com website, it's not uncommon for midwives to be opposed to vaccinations.
In a Slate article, an anonymous writer explained that his wife was almost ready to give birth and that a home birth had been planned. The anon writer and his wife had two midwives over to their home seven days earlier and, during the meeting, the midwives made the couple feel bad about the couple's plan to vaccinate the baby.
One of the midwives accused the couple of ignoring the well-being and safety of the baby. At this stage, the father of the unborn baby became irate. He wanted to throw the midwives out of his home. He wrote to an advice columnist at the website to see if he should figure out a non-midwife way of planning the birth.
So, what did the advice columnist say? Well, she told him to fire the two midwives and have the labor at a local hospital. Of course, all midwives aren't going to have views that are this extreme. But two of them did.
Views like this from midwives may turn doctors against them. Studies have shown that vaccines are safer than anti-vaxxers think they are.
12 Exasperating Hippy Methods
Midwives are actually providers of healthcare services. They are not the same as doulas. People get the two mixed up. Doulas definitely have a hippie image and doctors may feel that midwives are hippies, too. According to the TheBump.com website, midwives are real health care providers and doulas coach women in childbirth. A midwife has way more training than a doula. Doulas are there to offer moral support and assistance during childbirth. Don't get the two mixed up when you are planning your labor.
The hippie image of midwives comes from the "natural" philosophy that they have about childbirth. Doulas may be even more hippie-ish.
Did you know that a famous Gossip Girl star, Penn Badgley, is now married to a doula? Her name is Domino Kirke. They live in hipster Brooklyn and Domino is renowned for providing caring doula services to women in the area. But Domino is not a nurse or a certified midwife. She is a loving person who is spiritual and helps to guide women through labor. She's planning to train to be a midwife. According to TheCut.com, Kirke married Penn Badgley in February of 2017. She's currently one of the most famous doulas around.
If you love the hippie vibe, the idea of a midwife or doula may be very appealing. Some women love having midwives or doulas at their side during pregnancy and childbirth. They prefer it to the clinical approach of doctors. They find it more earthy and meaningful.
11 They Purposefully Put Babies At Risk
A New Zealand study showed that births guided by midwives have greater risks. Information about this study was published at The Guardian. In the study, just under 244,000 births within New Zealand were tracked and the deliveries which were led by midwives had a higher incident of negative events. The negative events were classified as "unexplained".
The statistics are troubling and seem to show that doctor-led births are safer. Women who chose doctor-led births had a 55% lower chance of having babies who experienced oxygen deprivation.
Females who opted for doctors during their labors had a thirty-nine percent less chance of giving birth to babies with the health issue, neonatal encephalopathy. This condition may trigger injuries to a baby's brain.
Also, women who had doctors at their labors were forty-eight percent less likely to have babies with low Apgar scores. Scores that are low indicate unwell babies.
If you give a lot of weight to studies like this, you may decide to have a doctor in attendance when you give birth, rather than a midwife. It was quite a large and comprehensive study and it is worth pondering the results. For the health of your baby, it's smart to weigh the pros and cons of using a midwife, rather than a physician.
10 Some Midwives Are Anti-doctor
This list may seem weighted towards doctors versus midwives, but the stats do back up the fact that home births with midwives carry risks which aren't present during hospital births which feature doctors in attendance.
These risks are fairly well-known, although it's still important to put the information out there, because some women might not realize that choosing midwives may put their babies at risk. Another issue is that midwives may be anti-doctor and earn the disrespect of doctors because of their attitudes towards MDs.
The problem is that there are a few horror stories out there about midwives. According to the Npr.org, a midwife from Virginia, named Karen Carr, received a conviction in 2011 for two felonies. The felonies related to the death of an infant that she attempted to deliver. Doctors hear these horror stories and then hear commentary from midwives who speak out about doctors in a negative way. It's understandable that doctors don't like what they hear.
Of course, all midwives aren't going to be convicted of felonies related to their services. But the bad apples may spoil the bunch for doctors. Moms should look into the backgrounds of midwives carefully before hiring them or accessing their services through healthcare systems.
9 Emergencies Are Still Directed To Doctors
Doctors may not like midwives because they only hear from midwives when there are problems with babies. Midwives don't come to doctors when everything is fine. For this reason, doctors may focus on the bad side of midwifery, just due to the fact that they have to step in and fix problems with midwife-led births.
According to the Time, research into doctor's opinions about midwives showed that doctors dislike taking on the cases of midwives. They don't like having to step in and handle other people's cases. They prefer to build a relationship with pregnant patients and then assist with their births.
This makes sense and it's understandable. A doctor who needs to help a baby will never have met the baby's mother before and will need to learn about the case from medical charts and the midwife. The doctor will have to get up to speed on the case very quickly and then make decisions about the best course of treatment for the baby.
Since doctors do have to step in and take cases from midwives when problems crop up, it's given a lot of doctors a poor view of midwifery as a profession.
Midwives probably hate having to go to doctors when there are problems. This dynamic may mean that relationships between doctors and midwives will always have a bit or tension...or a lot of tension.
8 A Natural, Rather Than Medical Approach
Doctors and midwives have a different take on labor. Doctors see it as a medical process, while midwives think it's a natural process. This different take on things may cause doctors to look down on midwives or outright disapprove of them.
According to an article at The Guardian website, a woman who opted for a midwife had a very bad experience during her UK labor, because the midwife didn't "medicalize" her birth as a doctor would have. When the woman showed up at the hospital, the midwife on duty sent her back home. The midwife told her to come back when labor was further along, even though she was bleeding.
When the woman came back a couple of hours later, she was hurried into an operating room because her placenta had detached from the lining of her womb. She needed an emergency C-section.
Midwives have a mindset that labor is natural, so they may be more likely to take a "wait and see" approach when a woman asks for help during labor. Of course, midwives vary in terms of intelligence and empathy, just like doctors do. In other words, there are good midwives and bad midwives. The woman who told The Guardian her story may have run into a bad midwife.
Some women have felt that midwives brush off their valid concerns and fears. Doctors may hear about this stuff and not like it.
7 They Take Business Away From Doctors
According to CNN, birth centers are on the rise in America. The centers aren't hospitals and they aren't homes. They are something in between. At birth centers, you'll find plenty of midwives.
Based on 2015 figures, four million babies are born in the USA every year and 98% come into the world in hospitals.
However, things are changing and increases in birth center popularity mean that more women may choose to leave doctors out of their birth plans in the future. In other words, midwives are probably going to start taking a lot of business away from doctors.
At a birth center, women find an inviting atmosphere which is somewhat hotel-like. The birth center is typically staffed by midwives and will have some obstetricians on hand to deal with emergencies. A lot of women who give birth in these centers never see a doctor. Some may give birth in luxurious, large bathtubs, with midwives in attendance.
Birth centers seem pretty sensible for low-risk births, as long as there really are obstetricians on staff or on call. Women who use these centers find them to be affordable and this is important, as health care costs in America are often astronomical and some people have better health care coverage than others.
6 They May Not Be Affiliated With Hospitals
Midwives who aren't affiliated with hospitals may earn the disdain of doctors. Doctors are trained to perform tasks in hospitals. They believe in hospitals.
In Canada and some other countries which are developed, home births are generally very safe. They may even be as safe as hospital births. In the USA, this just isn't the case and that's because the home birth system hasn't been integrated into the general medical system. This information comes from the Smithsonian.mag.com website.
For example, in the State of Oregon, a study was performed in 2016 which showed that home birth child mortality was way higher then hospital birth child mortality. If midwives aren't affiliated with hospitals, the risks of home births may be too high. That's why it's important to find out about a midwife's hospital affiliations or lack thereof when you are putting together your own birth plan.
A home birth with a midwife in attendance sounds so nice, doesn't it? You'd be in familiar surroundings, where you are the most comfortable. It's a seductive concept, but the truth is that hospital births are safer. This doesn't mean that women aren't making the choice to have midwives without hospital affiliations present at their home births. Many do it despite the risks.
5 Some Midwives Criticize Doctors
In March of 2018, a midwife lashed out by saying that doctors are "hopeless" when it comes to helping women who are in labor. According to the Huffington Post, midwife, Caroline Flint, who is respected in her field, believes that the health care system would be better off with few or no obstetricians and more midwives.
Naturally, these types of inflammatory comments aren't going to sit well with doctors, many of whom surely feel that they are great at helping women through childbirth.
Most midwives are not as outspoken as Caroline Flint. However, they may share the same views quietly. A doctor's association in the United Kingdom responded to Flint's comments with outrage and labeled the comments, "irresponsible". According to them., there must be mutual respect between midwives and doctors.
After Flint spoke her mind, a lot of doctors and midwives weighed in about her comments on Twitter. Most were sensible and believed that doctors and midwives need to work together for the good of women patients.
Flint may have been voicing an opinion that many midwives have shared for a long time. It's also possible that she represents an extreme view which isn't something that most midwives believe. She was a bit harsh and it's not hard to see why her comments offended physicians.
4 Views As "New Age" Practitioners
You've probably heard midwives talk about how pregnancy isn't a condition and labor isn't an illness, or something along those lines. According to Qz.com, midwives don't see a pregnant woman as "sick". This may make doctors mad.
Doctors are trained to perceive changes to the body which do present possible health risks as medical issues. Since midwives spend so much time talking about just how natural labor and pregnancy are, they may irritate doctors, who know that things can go very wrong during labor and childbirth sometimes.
Doctors may find the "natural mantra" of midwives to be New Age-ish and annoying. Doctors can't be too mystical about things. Their job is to analyze and treat and to do no harm. They are in the realm of facts and figures. Something can be natural and still be risky. Doctors know this. That's why they treat pregnancy and labor as medical conditions.
In my opinion as a mother, doctors are safe and midwives are a bit of an unknown quantity. A doctor is someone that I know had to complete a huge amount of education and training, including a long residency, before being able to make medical decisions for patients on his or her own. I trust this process that prepares doctors to care for patients.
With midwives, I'm still learning about their training requirements, which vary from country to country. I do see midwives are being a bit more New Age than typical obgyns/obstetricians. I had a hard labor in a hospital and I was glad that a doctor was there. It might have been a very sketchy home birth, even with a highly-trained midwife.
3 Midwives Tend To Get The "Easier" Patients
Do midwives get the easy patients, who don't anticipate any problems during childbirth because they are strong and healthy and mentally prepared for labor? Maybe so. With this in mind, doctors may resent midwives for grabbing the "good" patients, while they are left to handle more complex cases.
When you think about it, this makes so much sense. A woman who is having a high-risk pregnancy is very unlikely to opt for a home birth with a midwife and may also be reluctant to have a hospital birth with a midwife, instead of a doctor. Anyone who considers a midwife is probably not expecting to have complications during labor.
However, these complications may come whether they are expected or not.
Not all doctors are resentful of midwives. Far from it. According to the New York Times, The Mayo Clinic, which is at the forefront of medicine, allows midwives to deal with lower-risk pregnancies on their own. The midwives may go to doctors if complications arise. This seems like a sensible system. It costs less to pay midwives, so it puts less strain on the already-overburdened American health care system. Maybe more hospitals will follow suit with the same system in the future.
2 Midwives Spend More Time With Patients
Doctors may find it irritating that midwives have more time to spend with pregnant patients than they do. Doctors are really busy. According to The Statistics Portal, doctors in the United States usually spend between nine and twenty-four minutes with each patient. That's not much time per patient. Midwives may build closer relationships with pregnant women, simply because their schedules aren't so tight.
Women who are pregnant typically have so many questions and concerns. If a typical appointment with an obgyn lasts fifteen minutes or so, there's no way that a woman is going to feel comfortable asking every question. She will probably hold back from sharing a lot of her concerns. She may wish that there was a childbirth expert around who would have more time to spend with her. Midwives are usually not so rushed in their approach. They fill a need for women by offering a bit more of a connection.
Would you rather see a doctor for a quick pregnancy checkup or spend more time with a midwife? A woman's preference will depend on her personality. Doctors may do appointments fast, but they know what's important. They cover what really matters. Midwives have tons of knowledge, too, but not as much as doctors.
1 Midwives May Help With Risky Water Births
Women do have water births that are successful. This doesn't mean that water births are risk-free. Doctors may not like the fact that midwives help so many women with water births. According to the Parents.com website, it's possible for fetus to get infections which are transmitted via the water. As well, there is a risk of drowning.
A big study from the British Medical Journal showed that home-based water births are riskier, but that 95% of people feel confident about having water births.
By now, we've shared a lot of information about risks associated with home births. We've also talked a lot of midwives and the pros and cons of planning midwife-led labors. We want you to all of the hard facts so you can make a smart decision. Doctors often do know best and many are crazy about midwives. That's because most statistics show that hospital-based births led by doctors are safer.
Before medicine and technology advanced, women often died in childbirth or their babies died. Medicine and technology have helped women to stay healthy after giving birth to healthy babies.
Midwives work hard and have tons of training. Many are nurses. Doulas offer love and support without the healthcare certifications. Doctors have the highest level of training and they are often very compassionate people, even though they are busy. Doctors are great people, too.
References: Howtobecomeamidwife.com, Huffingtonpost.ca, Theguardian.com, Slate.com, Theglobeandmail.com, Content.time.com, Theguardian.com, Smithsonian.mag.com, Qz.com, The New York Times, www.npr.org, Thecut.com, Thebump.com, Thenewyorktimes.com, Statista.com, Parents.com