Midwife vs doctor?
It does not seem like a fair comparison does it?
After all, an obstetrician gynecologist (OBGYN) goes go to school for over 7 years. He is a trained professional.
We think it is indeed a fair comparison and that midwives have proven to be safer, especially for low risk women.
By the time a midwife attends a birth on her own, she will have attended many births as an apprentice – a student. On the other hand, your OBGYN will arrive to his residency with way less than 10 births under his belt.
When most US women – 96% – will choose a physician practice for their prenatal care, we will show you that a midwife may actually be a better choice.
Yes, that is the truth.
Here are three fundamental reasons why this is the case.
Reason #1: Midwife vs Doctor
Most Doctors Use Too many Interventions
In April of 2007, the University of Washington published a study in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers took a random sample of all the city practitioners in the state of Washington who delivered babies in hospitals:
- Nurse midwives – CNMs
- Family doctors
Then the researchers took a random sample of those practitioners’ low-risk patients, eventually analyzing 1,322 medical charts for more than 1,000 variables, covering mothers’ and babies’ status prenatally and during labor and birth.
What were the results in the midwife vs doctor debate?
The researchers found out that the patients of certified nurse-midwives were less likely to:
- Receive continuous fetal monitoring
- Have their labors induced or augmented
- Receive epidural anesthesia
Overall, patients with midwifery based care used 12 percent fewer resources than patients of physicians.
The C-section rate for patients of certified nurse midwives was 8.8 percent, compared to 13.6 percent for obstetricians and 15.1 percent for family physicians…
…and 31.1% for the U.S. as a whole!
The study found little difference between the practice patterns of the two groups of physicians. Obstetricians and family physicians seem to be very similar in their approaches to low-risk pregnant women.
The researchers noted that midwives account for only 4 percent of deliveries in this country. However, they deliver the majority of babies in many countries, including Britain. They concluded with this quote:
We hope that this study sparks discussions of less intrusive styles of obstetric care.
Reason #2: Midwife vs Doctor
Most Doctors Do Not Attend You In Labor
How many doctors will sit with you for hours of labor – sometimes up to 12 or more?
Midwives have traditionally stayed with the laboring woman until the birth of her child. Doctors leave the labor to the care of others and arrive for the birth.
Then again a midwifery practice only handles 2 to 4 clients per month whereas a physician practice has a work load of 45 births a month on average.
Reason #3: Midwife vs Doctor
Most Doctors Do Not Develop…
…a supportive rapport with the laboring mother to facilitate her ability to give birth safely and naturally by her own efforts.
For the sake of safety, the laboring mother must feel comfortable with her attendants.
As those of you who own animals – cats, dogs, horses, etc – well know, your animals will not be able to birth with people present they do not know or if they are uncomfortable. They usually will birth only if perfectly at ease.
It truly is no different for us.
The tension of a woman who is uncomfortable can slow or even stop her labor causing serious complications.
Dr. Richard Stewart, M.D. – an obstetrician gynecologist – who has worked with nurses and midwives, took a survey. He asked a group of mothers who had birthed both with a doctor and with a midwife:
“Which would you prefer to attend your future births – a doctor or a midwife?”
Midwife vs doctor?
The response was unanimous – 100% said a midwife. Why?
Because whereas a doctor spends on average 6-10 minutes per appointment with you – the pregnant mother, a midwife’s appointments are usually around 40 minutes at a minimum
A midwife becomes a friend, a counselor and a confidant. She builds up your confidence in your ability to nurture your baby in utero and to birth that baby. Trust is built with the mother to be.
The doctor, on the other hand, destroys your confidence in your own ability. Again the researchers of the University of Washington study reported that:
“A nurse midwife establishes a relationship with her patients that lead to excellent outcomes with less use of medical resources.”
So midwife vs doctor?
Well truly, it depends on your needs…not all women can have a midwife but if you are able to…they are often the best choice.
Sources of Midwife vs Doctor:
- The Five Standards for Safe Childbearing by Dr. David Stewart