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Differences between doctor and midwife assisted births

Pregnancy is perhaps one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but there is no denying the fact that this particular time is packed full of life-changing decisions and questions. What should I name my baby? Am I really ready to go through pregnancy and become a mother? Will I breastfeed or use formula? Will I become a good parent? Honestly speaking, the list of parenting issues that women find themselves concerned about is literally endless.

However, there is one question that comes to mind before anything else as soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant: who will be my caregiver during pregnancy? Who will deliver my baby? Should I stick to a doctor or opt for a midwife? To be honest, you, as an expectant woman, need to come to a decision in this regard as soon as possible. Whether you wish to rely on a doctor or a midwife during this extremely special time of your life is a decision that must be made with utmost clarity right from the word go. This is because there isn’t much else as important as acquiring expert care and guidance right from the beginning of your pregnancy to the time that your precious bundle of joy is delivered.

Come to think of it, this is truly a big decision and the differences amidst both these prenatal caregivers are definitely going to impact your decision. On the whole, whether you want to stay safe and opt for a doctor with all the medications and emergency equipment, or want to have a laid-back home birth with a wonderful midwife is your personal choice. To help you make a better decision, here’s a look into the differences between doctor and midwife assisted births:

7 Doctors cannot offer individualized attention – midwives can

The sort of individualized care that a midwife can offer during childbirth can never be offered by a doctor. No matter the situation, your midwife is going to plop down next to you and just be there for you – that is something that a doctor just doesn’t have the time to do. Your doctor will basically just be there to talk to you, check you and assess you – s/he will not be there all through the labor and delivery procedure just to be with you if you know what I mean.

On the whole, expectant mothers who choose to take on a midwife for the delivery of their baby love the completely attention that they receive during this crucial time of their lives. However, it really isn’t a doctor’s fault that s/he cannot give full attention to their patient. Seethe thing with doctors is that they have multiple patients to see to and they need to complete their rounds as well. On the other hand, midwives only need to focus their attention on a single mother at a time. Another benefit of having a midwife is that she will be there for you all through the labor and delivery process with a medical staff that is ready at all times for any complications that may arise.

Midwives are there all through pregnancy and labor

The best part is that your midwife will accompany you all through the different stages of pregnancy and labor. Right from your water breaking to your contractions – you will receive all the attention you want from your midwife. A doctor, on the other hand, cannot offer this personalized attention.

6 Your doctor will offer limited options for pain management

Before anything else, let me clear out here that I am not doctor bashing at all – I am merely telling pregnant women the facts about how things will be if they choose to deliver their babies through a doctor or midwife. So now, when it comes to pain management, most women who have had their babies delivered through doctors and midwives both believe their midwives offered more options for the said purpose. They could walk around, labor in the tub, have snacks, drink all they wanted to keep themselves going, get a walking epidural and even have drugs in their IV. Although this depends mostly on where you choose to deliver, your doctor is merely going to offer two pain management options: epidural or nothing.

The different pain management options that your midwife will offer are inclusive of:

  • Water immersion
  • Massage
  • Emotional help
  • Walking epidural

These are just a few of the most basic pain management options that your midwife will offer to you. With their hands on support and assistance, bearing the pain during labor is bound to become a whole lot easier for you. The best part is that if at any time you need pain medication during labor, your midwife will be able to order it for you right away. On the other hand, the only option available at a hospital in this regard is that of getting an epidural – walking or water immersion etc. are simply out of the question.

Midwives can use nitrous oxide

If the pain becomes somewhat unbearable for you, you could always tell your midwife about it. Once you do so, she will be able to order nitrous oxide to assist you in bearing the pain of labor and delivery.

5 Midwives may not be as qualified or experienced as a doctor

See, I don’t hate doctors and am ready to accept that there are downsides associated with delivering your baby through a midwife. I actually know someone whose midwife botched her stitches to the point that she remained in pain and discomfort till her next delivery during which her doctor fixed her mistakes. Even with all the wonderful aspects associated with midwives, at times they just don’t have enough knowledge or experience of certain procedures associated with pregnancies and deliveries.

The one thing you need to bear in mind is that amidst the many differences between midwives and doctors, one that truly stands out is that of the type of education they receive. An OB/GYN is a doctor who holds specialty in pregnancy and childbirth. Not only do they go to medical schools, they also receive training to perform surgeries. Although a few of them attend births at birthing centers, doctors don’t typically attend home births.

On the other hand, midwives do not go to medical school although they are trained in everything associated with pregnancy and birth. Even though they aren’t titled as doctors, they are very competent and can provide all the care women need during pregnancy and childbirth. However, they may not, at times, be as experienced as doctors, which can lead to complications during deliver.

Midwives cannot handle high risk pregnancies

This is a fact; midwives hold a specialty only in handling low and moderate risk pregnancies in healthy women. When there is a problem, they merely refer pregnant women to doctors. They can also not perform a C-section. On the other hand, doctors are qualified to handle high risk pregnancies and can also perform a C-section if need be. 

4 Your chances of having a C-section are higher with a doctor assisted delivery

Alright, the fact of the matter is that OB/GYN’s are trained surgeons – they have a fascination for surgery. For this reason, it is natural for most of them to want to deliver your baby through a C-section instead of natural birth. Yes, in most cases, doctor intervention is required, but in others, unnecessary interventions only increase your chances of having to go through a C-section. Although these surgeries have gained immense popularity amidst women in the last couple of years, they also come with risks and complications associated with them. On the other hand, midwives prefer letting a woman’s body do her work and deliver a healthy baby by natural means.

There are many women out there who believe their body doesn’t have the potential to deliver their babies naturally. The interventions that doctors offer and all hospital regulations these days have actually undermined the way women think. Women are now forced to believe that they need to have a doctor around to deliver their babies because their bodies just don’t have the power to do so. This approach is as far from the truth as possible because a woman’s body is made to deliver babies without any interventions. This is what midwives believe in, which is why they prefer taking the natural path towards childbirth. Nature has provided women with all the tools and potential needed to deliver babies – and this notion is supported 100% by midwives.

Doctors rush things through with C-sections

Doctors don’t have the time required to see to labors that progress slowly. In order to rush things through, doctors prefer performing C-sections, which is why it is believed that a doctor assisted delivery has a higher chance of being lead to a C-section. 

3 Doctors may want you to follow their choices

Doctors are known to at times recommend (read impose) doing things that aren’t really necessary. For instance, someone I know was diagnosed with polyhydramnios. Just so you know, this condition isn’t all that serious in most cases, but even when her case wasn’t serious, her doctor was bent upon inducing her at 37 weeks. There are plenty of cases like this, which goes on to show that it is normal for doctors to want to imply their choices on you. If you don’t, there’s a high chance you’ll get to hear something along the lines of “Do you really want to risk your baby’s well-being?” – medical intimidation at its best. Whether the doctor is right or wrong is not the point, it’s just the fact that the whole thing turns into a bit of a power imbalance for the expectant mother.

The thing with doctors is that they are known for their contempt against natural and alternative remedies. For this reason, it is normal for doctors to want to intimidate you into opting for invasive procedures and unnecessary medication. On the other hand, midwives are the complete opposite. With a midwife, you will not have to follow a doctor’s timeline not will you have to be intimated into using unnecessary interventions or drugs that will potentially stop your body from doing things that it is designed to.

Midwives don’t force you into things – they give options

That’s right. Midwives will give you options to choose from – ones that are best for your and your baby’s well-being. Once you know your options, you can choose one that you think is best for you and your midwife will follow through. 

2 Your doctor may rush you – a midwife won’t

When it comes to hospital births, there is a good chance that your labor will be sped up with drugs in case it is too slow (as per the doctor’s beliefs). What you need to know is that a majority of drugs used for this purpose increase pain and have the potential to cause trauma to the baby. For this reason, there is an increase chances of you being given pain medication. Pain medication can at times slow down labor, thereby necessitating the administration of even more stimulants. Eventually, the snowball effect of interventions that these cause requires the performance of a C-section. All of this is done just because your doctor doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to you – because s/he has lots of other patients to see to as well!

If truth be told, getting pregnant and delivering a baby is a life changing and completely transformative experience. For a majority of women out there, it is extremely important for them to be completely in touch with themselves and the entire experience as they go through labor and delivery. This, however, simply isn’t possible when you have to keep up with your doctor’s timeline and the impending need for interventions that may prevent your body from doing what it has been designed to do. 

A midwife will want you to experience everything naturally

Midwives believe in the power of a woman’s body. Moreover, they see just a single patient at a time, which is why there is no need for them to want to rush things. For this reason, midwives prefer letting a laboring woman’s body do its work and like letting things take a natural route.

1 Midwives can’t handle emergency situations and may not offer postpartum medical help

Having a home birth with a midwife is a safe option if you have had a healthy pregnancy and there are no risks to the baby. However, there remains the fact that emergency situations can always arise during delivery. So when you have a home birth and an emergency comes up, the delay in care while shifting you from home to the hospital can have serious consequences for both you and your baby. For instance, if your baby turns out being a meconium baby, s/he will need immediate respiratory care by NICU staff right upon delivery. If your baby doesn’t receive this care right away, there is a good chance that s/he will suffer from long-term health concerns. So in the long run, midwives cannot offer care in emergency situations – doctors can.

Also, having a doctor assisted delivery means that you get to stay in the hospital. The best part about it is that you will get a lot of support and help from the staff. The one thing that you can be assured of is that nurses and patient care techs are extremely caring people who are there to make recovery easier for you. However, there’s no way that you will be able to benefit from this privilege if you have a home birth with a midwife unless there are family members and friends willing to help you out.

Doctor assisted births let you spend time away from home

Having a home birth makes you stay in your regular environment surrounded by your family and kids. This can make it hard for you to remove yourself from your regular wife and mother role. It is natural for women to want to be away from their home for a day or so (although some may disagree), so they may focus on their newborn and recover from labor and delivery.

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