There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding pregnancy, especially if this is your first child. Estimating the date of your last period to figuring out due dates, choosing a name for your baby, and deciding who to seek prenatal care from are some examples that can make parents worry. Many women commonly debate the optimal way of bringing a baby into the world: Midwife or OB-GYN.
However, making the decision of who will deliver your baby is extremely personal which doesn't make the task any less daunting. It's important to consider the benefits of both professionals, to help make an informed decision of what works best for you.
10 MIDWIFE: Personalized care
One of the top benefits of choosing a midwife is the personalized care that you will receive. Although OB-GYNs do their best to be personable, due to the number of patients they see for obstetrics (pregnant women) and gynecology (reproductive health), appointments might be more pressed.
Midwives make home visits so the expecting mom can be in a calm environment. Midwives are on-call 24/7 if you want to ask questions or have concerns, and out of the team of midwives you see, one of them will be the one who delivers your baby.
9 OB-GYN: Experienced in worst-case scenarios
OB-GYNs are specifically trained on how to intervene during worst-case scenarios during labor and delivery. Since they are typically in a hospital setting (when they aren't at an office for appointments) OB-GYNs have had their fair share of emergency situations.
Some examples of scenarios OB-GYNS have been trained to look for, based on general principles and routine care guidelines, is what to do if: a woman is in labor, imminent delivery, breech delivery, prolapsed cord, meconium being present, non-vigorous baby, and neonatal resuscitation.
OB-GYNs are trained for post-natal care emergencies as well, such as postpartum hemorrhaging, pre-eclampsia, seizures, eclampsia, hypertension, gestational diabetic problems, and vaginal bleeding.
8 MIDWIFE: Family-friendly
Midwives realize that bringing a baby into the world impacts the entire family. Therefore, the quality of care offered far extends just the expecting mother. As much as possible, they welcome family members to join in on the experience of pregnancy and childbirth.
Not only do they focus on the momma, but they provide reassurance, information, and support to the spouse and family. This type of care helps reduce overall stress levels surrounding the experience, making all trimesters a little bit easier.
7 OB-GYN: C-Sections
There are many reasons as to why a pregnant mother may need an OB-GYN to have a c-section performed for the delivery of her baby. While some women opt for a chosen c-section, others may not have a choice in the planned or emergency procedure. The baby may be breeched, transversed, have birth defects, or be in fetal distress.
The mother could be experiencing complications to her placenta (such as placenta previa), have other health conditions making a vaginal delivery risky, have had previous surgery on her uterus, or have had a c-section prior with previous pregnancies. An OB-GYN may perform an emergency c-section if labor has stopped or not progressing fast enough, the placenta has detached from the uterine wall too soon, or the baby's head/body is too large to come through the birth canal.
6 MIDWIFE: Coach you through labor, delivery, and postpartum
Having a midwife is like having the ultimate support partner. They are knowledgeable in various types of labour, methods of delivery, and importance in following up in postpartum care.
They recognize your needs for emotional, mental, and physical support. Their focus is to coach you through every step of the way while providing you with shared decision making in yours and baby's health care. If the pregnancy turns from a low-risk pregnancy to one with concerns or complications requiring an OB-GYN to take over, midwives continue to support the mother for up to 6 weeks following the birth.
5 OB-GYN: High-Risk Pregnancies
High-risk complications arise in 6-8% of pregnancies. Even though the number seems low, women who experience health-related problems during pregnancy or their baby is experiencing complications, concerns can emerge quickly. These factors could have stemmed from pre-existing health conditions or only appeared during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
Some examples of high-risk pregnancies include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, mental health difficulties, overweight and obesity, multiple births, and young or older maternal age. OB-GYNs specialize in high-risk pregnancies, therefore, would be the best option of prenatal care if complications occur.
4 MIDWIFE: Mom is regarded in a holistic perspective
Midwives recognize that each mother has her own wants and expectations. That's why their flexibility of where a mother chooses to give birth, is a bonus regarding her over-all needs. Midwives are able to work in hospitals and in-home settings.
There are some mothers who feel more confident and comfortable giving birth in their own home. If there are no concerns or complications during the pregnancy, using a midwife to give birth at home is a safe option. Women who choose not to have medical intervention (such as an epidural or induction), want to be in a familiar environment, and feel like the delivery and recovery would go better at home — choosing a midwife is the way to go!
3 OB-GYN: Thorough prenatal and postpartum care
OB-GYNs specialize in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and birth. They have specialized education in surgical care, focusing on detection and management of the female reproductive system if obstetrical or gynecological problems occur. OB-GYNs are required to attend and graduate from medical school, and then complete an additional four years of residency training in obstetrics, gynecology, gynecology oncology, ultrasonography, and preventative care.
Although some OB-GYNs just choose to offer obstetric services, many offer both. This is helpful as it ensures that the professional is not only providing care for the pregnancy but is thorough considering the overall female reproductive health.
2 MIDWIFE: Provides emotional and mental support
Since it's recommended to get prenatal care right from the beginning of the pregnancy, the team of midwives you see become trusted support. Midwives are able to do testings and screenings, as well as talk to you about potential procedures that can arise in pregnancy. They understand that parents might feel anxious or vulnerable about the whole process, and they empathetically reassure any doubts or worries.
Midwives offer support through home visits after the baby is born, once a day for the first few days, and then weekly for up to six weeks. Parents can experience baby-blues or Postpartum/Paternal Postnatal Depression after the birth of a baby, therefore, under the observation of a Midwife, the symptoms and duration of these disorders can be reduced dramatically. Midwives also provide anxiety-relief to parents by monitoring the baby's weight and well-being through examinations.
1 OB-GYN: Medical Team
Choosing to have an OB-GYN may not always ensure you will have that particular professional to deliver your baby. However, most OB-GYNs work on-call and are all very experienced in obstetrics and gynecologic emergencies.
With the help of nurses, anesthesiologists, and other health care colleagues, OB-GYNs are able to provide efficient, thorough, and safe care to an expectant mother and her baby. In a hospital setting, they are able to get second-opinions, additional aid, and use the latest procedures and technology with the assistance of their medical team.
Having access to a knowledgeable medical team reduces the likely hood that those who are attending to a mother's care will not be stressed since the workload is more evenly divided, with each team member excelling in their own scope of practice.