These stereotypes can make a mom-to-be confused or concerned about her care provider. Our doula sets the story straight so you can decide what type of provider is right for your pregnancy, labor and birth.
An obstetrician (OB) is a surgeon. A midwife is not. That's the most bare-bones, basic difference.
The philosophy factor
Everyone wants the best possible outcome for you and your baby — that's a given! But if you have strong feelings about how you want labor to go, whether it's au naturel or epidural (now!), talk to your doctor or midwife in advance. You can even interview a potential doctor or midwife early in the pregnancy and ask questions about things that are important to you. Not happy with her answers? Move on.
Traditionally, midwives have a more holistic approach to pregnancy and birth than OBs, but that's not always the case.
The personality factor
There's a saying that when it comes to holistic-minded doctors, M.D. means midwife in disguise.
When I trained to become a childbirth educator and doula, I read a lot about midwifery care.
I'll admit, I started going down the whole midwives good, doctors bad route. Then I attended a birth with a mom who wanted everything to be as natural as possible. Two failed epidurals, pitocin and an episiotomy later, she was thrilled about her baby but not the experience. A midwife (yes, midwife) came into the hospital room and said, "Who cares? It's natural childbirth if it comes out of the vagina." Huh? Where was the earthy crunchy midwife I read about?
Right then and there, I realized it doesn't come down to who is better — doctor or midwife — but whether she has decent people skills.
Bottom Line^ Take the time to research doctors and midwives in your community and go with whomever you feel most comfortable with for the next nine months. Every woman deserves a doctor or midwife who delivers compassionate care regardless of the mode of delivery and outcome.