Should I Get A Midwife Or A Doctor?

Basics of Labor and Delivery: Terms to Know

Physician or Midwife?–Understanding the Choice

Mothers-to-be have a wide array of choices in their medical care during pregnancy and delivery. Traditional health care providers include obstetricians and gynecologists as well as nurse-practitioners; these medical professionals are highly trained in identifying and managing complications of pregnancy, but may be very structured and limited in the birthing and prenatal care options available for expectant mothers.

Many women prefer a more natural, holistic approach to medical treatment. This can extend to their prenatal care and delivery plans as well; as a result, midwives are a popular choice among expectant mothers who are planning to deliver using natural childbirth techniques. Midwives emphasize natural techniques for managing pain and promoting good health for mother and baby, but typically lack the advanced training that physicians and nurse-practitioners can offer their patients.

Midwife Or Physician?

The choice between a midwife and an obstetrician or nurse-practitioner is largely one of personal preference. Midwives typically offer more flexibility and provide a wider range of choices for expectant mothers in prenatal care, exercise regimens and birthing options. Traditional medical professionals generally follow accepted practices for every stage of pregnancy, including delivery. While this structured approach can be familiar and provide additional security for some women, it also reduces the amount of control the mother has over the process and may rule out the preferred birthing method of the expectant parents. Midwives typically perform fewer tests and are not licensed to prescribe medications; this can cause concern among women who are expecting the full array of testing options during the course of their pregnancy.

When To Choose A Physician

Women who have serious existing health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease should be treated by a physician throughout the gestational period and delivery. These high-risk pregnancies require constant monitoring and adjustment of diet, medication and other treatments. As a general rule of thumb, if the mother-to-be must take any prescription medication other than prenatal vitamins, she should be under a medical doctor’s care in order to monitor the baby’s health as well as her own.

When To Select A Midwife

For healthy women who anticipate no major problems with their pregnancies, midwives can offer a number of options not typically available from traditional medical care providers. Midwives can assist in home births, water births, and can work with the entire family in order to ensure that everyone knows what to expect and how to respond at each stage of labor. Midwives can also attend hospital deliveries if this is arranged in advance. Because midwives typically offer more personalized service to their clients, many women feel more comfortable in going through delivery with these specialized birthing experts.

Regardless of which option the parents-to-be select, the most important factor to consider is the level of comfort the mother feels with her health care provider. A supportive, caring physician, nurse-practitioner or midwife can be a tremendous asset to the family throughout the pregnancy and delivery. The proper choice can make the entire process much easier and less intimidating for first time mothers and fathers-to-be.

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