One of the most important things during pregnancy is finding a caregiver that you are comfortable with. This individual will provide care and support you during your pregnancy, birth, and 6 week postpartum period. In Ontario, you have the option of choosing either a midwife or an ObGyn – as long as your pregnancy is low risk.
I did not like my family physician growing up. I found him intimidating, and he had very traditional values. He made it clear that he believed that sex before marriage was unacceptable. As a result, I ended up lying when I became sexually active because I was afraid of his response. This could of been really dangerous if I ever had any concern regarding my sexual health (luckily I didn’t).
I ended up switching family doctors when I was 19. She is an amazing, supportive, and non-judgemental physician – but she is also 2 hours away from my current city. Because of my previous experience, it was really important that I found someone who I was comfortable with to care for my and my baby.
ObGyn or Midwife – What’s the Difference?
An ObGyn is a medically trained doctor who can provide medical and surgical care to women. Ob’s attend medical school and complete a four-year residency. They are trained specifically to deal with complications and high-risk pregnancies. They are able to conduct surgeries – while midwives are not.
Midwives specialize in low-risk, natural births. They have a four-year University degree in midwifery. Midwives tend to believe that birth is a natural process; whereas, Ob’s tend to view it more as a clinical process. Midwives are able to order all of the same tests and bloodwork that an Ob can.
These are obviously just basic definitions of the difference between a midwife and an ObGyn, and I highly recommend you do your own research. There are a lot of resources out there. One thing to note: midwife centres tend to have waitlists (depending on your location), so if you are considering a midwife, I recommend putting yourself on the waitlist ASAP. Thankfully I put myself on the waitlist as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and I ended up being offered a spot when I was around 10 weeks along.
1. Midwives Tend to Promote a More Natural Birthing Process
It is really important to me that my birthing process was as natural as possible. Of course I haven’t given birth yet – so I am not sure what exactly will happen. But midwives tend to allow you to move around, give birth in whatever position is comfortable, and explore other pain management options. They also allow you the option to give birth at home. I will be giving birth in a hospital, but I plan to labour at home for as long as comfortable and return home as soon as possible.
I am not too keen on the idea of having a large needle shoved into my spine, so I wanted a provider that would allow me to explore different options. From my understanding, midwives tend to allow the birthing process to go on longer before turning to cesarean delivery.
2. Midwives Tend Allow Women More Autonomy
At my midwife centre specifically, they believe in presenting information in a non-biased manner and allowing the woman to make her own decisions. They believe that every women knows what’s best for her body and her baby. They do however, offer recommendations if that is what the woman wants.
I read a few horror stories of women who were forced into unwanted C-sections or inductions, and made to feel bad when they questioned their Ob’s decision. Sometimes both of those situations are necessary in order to have a safe delivery, but a doctor should always be willing to explain why to the patient.
3. Longer, More Personal Appointments
One of the main reasons I decided on a midwife, was that they offer longer appointments. Being a first time mom, I knew I was going to have a lot of questions. I didn’t want to have to feel rushed or hurried when going through these appointments. Midwife appointments tend to run 30-45 minutes, whereas Ob’s tend to see their patients for approximately 10 minutes.
Additionally, midwives offer a number of home visits after the baby is born. This allows additional support with things such as breastfeeding, which can sometimes be difficult. I also liked the idea that they visit you in the comfort of your own home.
4. Someone On Your Midwife Team Will Be Present During the Birth
Ob’s operate on a rotating schedule, and whoever is on-call will be the one who is present during the baby’s birth and handle your delivery. With a midwife, they often work in teams of two or three, and you have the opportunity to get to know all of them during your pregnancy. Of course there can be situations where babies all decide to be born at the same time, but it is very likely someone from your midwife team will be able to be present during the birth.
Just Do Your Research
The most important thing is that you make sure you are confident in your decision of a health care provider. Ask family and friends who provided their prenatal care and get recommendations. Make sure that you ask the important questions during your intake appointment such as: what is your cesarean rate, how many doctors are on your team, and will you have the opportunity to meet them, what are your recommended methods for pain management etc. Whoever you chose, midwife or ObGyn, just make sure you are comfortable with them providing your care.
Did you use a midwife or ObGyn? What was your experience like? Let me know down below! Until next time xo.