Midwife or Ob-Gyn: Which is Best Choice for You?by Katlyn Joy | May 24, 2012
Today's expectant mothers have more choices when it comes to prenatal care and childbirth. One of the biggest choices is deciding on a health care provider for your pregnancy and delivery.
There is no one right answer for every woman, or even every pregnancy. However, it is important to make an informed choice in order to make your pregnancy and birthing experience the closest to ideal as possible.
First to help you to determine what's best for you, take this short quiz.
1. I read up on the latest practices, studies and research about pregnancy and childbirth.
2. I feel that a doctor with the most experience is not always the best choice for a health care provider.
3. I want to be involved in every aspect of my pregnancy and delivery and an informed patient.
4. I am sure if I will not want interventions such as an epidural, electronic fetal monitoring or augmenting labor if it slows but I will consider it if it is absolutely necessary.
5. Childbirth is not at all scary to me and I feel confident that I can make good choices even while in labor.
6. I want to have individualized attention from my medical provider.
Answers: True answers indicate you may be more comfortable with a midwife attending you while false answers indicate a higher comfort level with traditional medical care from an ob-gyn.
Reasons to Go with An Ob-Gyn
Your medical history indicates a possible higher risk pregnancy. Conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, hypertension, or other chronic illnesses or diseases will likely require you to be more closely monitored and most likely need to deliver at a traditional hospital.
Your pregnancy history or current pregnancy requires extra care and will require birthing at a hospital with a NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit. If your baby has a higher likelihood of needing assistance after birth, you will definitely need to give birth at a hospital equipped for such emergencies in tiny patients. If you have serious placenta concerns, are expecting multiples especially triplets or more, have a history or a high risk of premature labor, or had previous cesarean sections, it is also likely you need to go the more traditional medical route with an ob-gyn.
Your insurance will not approve of your midwife or birthing center. While many insurance companies today are more open to this choice, many still will only work with medical providers that deliver babies at hospitals already linked to their insurance network. Of course, you can always check with your midwife or the birthing center to see what arrangements may be possible.
Reasons to Go with A Midwife
You've given birth before and had an uncomplicated, intervention-free birth. If you've given birth before, your body has previously adjusted to a baby and birth which is an advantage the second time around. You also have some idea of what to expect and won't be as nervous or fearful as a typical first time mom.
You've given birth before and had a less than ideal experience, and want a better one this time. Perhaps with baby number one, you received an episiotomy or a c-section or you felt pressured to do things in ways you didn't feel comfortable. Maybe you heard about other experiences of moms who saw midwives and were envious.
You are a well informed patient who likes to share the responsibility for making decisions regarding your maternal health , your baby's health and your labor. If you carefully monitor your pregnancy and are on top of things, from doing kick counts, to counting your calcium intake, you are a good midwife patient candidate.
The Final Word
While no one but you can decide this for you, it is important to discuss this with your partner and make a decision that works for the whole family. If you go non-traditional routes, expect some flak from relatives and friends. However, if you know in your gut this is what is best for you and your baby, stand firm and don't feel compelled to defend your decision any time it's questioned.
If you find after making that initial decision on a caregiver that your instincts led you astray and you simply aren't clicking with your health care provider, or perhaps even worse, you feel you aren't receiving thoughtful, respectful or professional care, don't stay on simply because you chose this option. You can switch horses mid-race in this case. It would be foolish not to in such situations.
Whoever provides your prenatal care and delivers your baby holds your life and the life of your child in the balance. Don't feel bad about careful deliberation!
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