Midwives vs Doctors – What’s the Best Childbirth Option for You
Childbirths under the supervision of qualified midwives are increasingly growing popular. For someone who is uninitiated, looking for any other option other than going to a hospital may seem a bit strange. However, mothers who have two or more children and have opted for midwifery service, as well as a regular hospital delivery in the past, often say that they prefer midwives over doctors.
OB-GYNs still remain the most popular choice when it comes to childbirths in the United States. However, the trend of choosing midwives over doctors is certainly on the rise. Back in 1989, only 3.2 percent of all babies delivered in the nation were done by midwives. That percentage steadily rose to 7.5 percent in 2008. According to Science Daily, 10 percent of all births are now performed by midwives.
Nurse midwives are people who have gone through nurse training and are registered nurses and have also undergone specialized midwifery training. These professionals are board certified and are essentially qualified nurses specializing in childbirth.
If you are struggling with the choice of picking a childbirth specialist, then this is the right post for you. We reveal the differences between midwives and OB-GYNs and will talk about the associated pros and cons.
What are the Differences Between a Midwife and a Doctor?
OB-GYNs are licensed medical doctors specializing in pregnancy and women’s health. Childbirth performed by doctors are almost always performed in a hospital. Doctors can legally perform both C-sections and natural delivery. Doctors usually do little to emotionally support the mother and are far less available for consultations and solving the little problems compared to midwives.
Midwives are certified nurses specializing in childbirth. Before they can perform deliveries, midwives need to pass a nursing degree specializing in midwifery. They then need to be board certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They also need to get recertified every 5 years. Midwives are not qualified or legally allowed to perform C-sections. However, midwives generally remain more available during the entire pregnancy and delivery process. Most deliveries performed by midwives happen at hospitals. Only a small percentage of all deliveries performed by midwives take place at independent childbirth centers or homes.
Depending on the State and the hospital, some OB-GYNs may agree to work with a midwife. However, in a lot of cases, you would either have to pick a midwife or an OB-GYN.
Are Childbirths Supervised by Midwives Safer than Doctors?
According to NICE (The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) deliveries performed by midwives are actually safer if there are no complications. The same was published in a New York Times post that pointed out that doctors are far more likely to adopt aggressive techniques such as forcep deliveries, C-sections, and anaesthesia, which may lead to injuries to the mother or the child.
However, doctors and a hospital, in general, is the preferred choice if there is a complication. Doctors have access to blood banks and surgical infrastructure to tackle unforeseen scenarios during childbirth.
For normal deliveries without complications, childbirth performed by midwives at a hospital is probably the safest option. If there are complications, being under the supervision of an OB-GYN is always the way to go.
What’s the Cost of Hiring Midwives?
Hiring a midwife is always cheaper than the traditional route of hospitals and OB-GYNs. A midwifery service may charge you anything from $1,500 to as much as $3,000. Compare that to the approximate cost of $10,000 for getting a baby delivered at a hospital under the supervision of an OB-GYN.
However, a lot of insurance policies do not pay for midwifery services, while almost all of them cover the cost of child births performed by doctors. If you have insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of hiring midwives, then picking a doctor may just prove to be cheaper.
4 Tips When Hiring a Midwife
Make Sure They Are Qualified
As mentioned earlier, midwives need to be qualified nurses with a specialization in midwifery and childbirth. They also need to be board certified. Make sure to ask for all the qualifications before appointing a midwife.
Pick Local a Midwife Who Can Drop in Anytime
You want to pick a local midwifery service that’s reputed in the community. If you live in Oregon, you want Oregon midwives who stay nearby and can attend you whenever there is a need.
Find Out Their Care Model
Some midwife service allocates a midwife to take care of you throughout the pregnancy process. This allows you to form a bond with the midwife and be more comfortable around her. However, there are also other services that have a team of experts, where different midwives attend you at different stages of pregnancy. This is called the shared care model. The main advantage of the shared care model is that the service can always send in an expert to your home because it’s not dependant on the availability of one person.
Pick a Service that Performs Hospital Births
Whether you choose a hospital or home, you should at least pick a service that does offer hospital births as a service. This gives you access to the best of both worlds. You get the care and experience of a midwife whilst being in a facility that’s equipped to handle complications.