Midwives and Doctors
Today’s pregnant woman has many different choices when it comes to her prenatal care. Often, the first choice a woman makes is who to have take care of her during her pregnancy, a midwife or a doctor.
For some the decision is simple. Women who either have medical problems or have had a previous c-section and know that they are going to have another one, choose to see an obstetrician because only they can perform c-sections. However, for most women, the choice isn’t as obvious, and careful research must be undertaken to determine what choice is best for her and her family.
Prior to labor, during office visits, a mother to be might find that a midwives’ office is much more personal, friendly, and quicker than a doctor’s office. The wait isn’t as long, and the midwife is willing to listen and answer all your questions no matter how long it takes. While in labor, either at home or the hospital, a midwife will generally not leave the mothers side until labor is over, remaining with the mother to give constant support.
Midwives are generally believed to be more personable and more willing to listen, and to do exactly what the mother-to-be wants during her pregnancy and birth. Midwives generally support and believe in a more natural, comfortable birth for the mother and baby, as well as using less traditional birthing aids such as birthing balls and water births. A midwife also is knowledgeable about perineal massage to help avoid tears and episiotomies during labor, as well as using oils and teas to help your cervix soften and prepare for labor. Also, if a mother-to-be wants to have a homebirth, a midwife is who she would choose to assist her.
Doctors can offer a lot of benefits as well. Often a doctor can come with a lot of recommendations from friends. Also, if you register with a group of doctors you will have more than one option of who to see. Many times you will actually see all the doctors at different appointments so you’ll get to know each one. You will also be able to get several different opinions regarding any problems you might be having in your pregnancy in one place, rather than having to go elsewhere for a second opinion. Another benefit is that if your doctor is ill, or has to deliver a baby, you probably won’t have to reschedule your appointment because there should be another doctor that you could see in the practice that day.
Often, you will find that the doctor’s office is packed and you have to wait for your appointment. When you finally get in to see your obstetrician, he is rushed and doesn’t want to take the time to answer your questions. These are common complaints from women who have a doctor versus a midwife for their prenatal care.
Obstetricians can also support and believe in a more natural method of childbirth, but they can also be quick to recommend pain medication during labor. They might also be quick to recommend a c-section if labor is not progressing as fast as they want. You also often won’t find the doctor at the hospital or in your room until it is time to actually deliver the baby, instead leaving the labor, early pushing and delivery up to a nurse to take care of.
The choice between an obstetrician and a midwife is purely personal for each mother-to-be. It is a decision to be weighed carefully and not taken before first getting all the facts. In the end, the mother-to-be wants to be happy and 100% comfortable with whoever she chooses, because this is the person she is going to be depending upon to bring a new life into the world safely.
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