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What's the difference between an OB & a Midwife?

One of the very first decisions you'll make in your pregnancy is usually a care provider. Who is going to deliver my baby? Most women naturally begin searching for a local obstetrician (OB). I'll be the first to admit that I had no clue there were other options! I had no idea that midwives shared many of the same qualities as OB's.

An OB & a Midwife can both deliver your baby!

While their settings are typically different, both of these health care professionals have the ability to deliver your baby. 99.9% of the time, an OB would be delivering your baby in a hospital setting. A midwife, however, can practice in a more diverse setting. They often deliver home births, in birthing centers, and some hospitals allow midwives privileges there too. They both are held to high standards, have medical licensing, and are passionate about birth.

So what's the difference?

In short, their level of professional training & credentials. While midwives do go through extensive courses to earn one of three different types of midwife credentials, they are different than the years of medical school that a physician such as an OB would take.

An OBGYN has been trained to perform surgeries, handle high-risk patients, and typically work alongside a team of providers...(who you may see at any of your visits). Midwives generally work with patients who desire a more "hands off" approach to childbirth. This includes patients who want to avoid interventions, experience water births, and things alike.

Which type of provider should I see?

While choosing a type of provider shouldn't be solely based on your birth preference, I think it's important to consider. Keep in mind that selecting a midwife doesn't guarantee you'll have a water birth, just as much as seeing an OB doesn't mean you'll have to be induced. There are many misconceptions about both professionals and their scope of work.

This is another reason why a doula can be beneficial. We are here to help you feel confident & informed in your birth choices so that you can pick a provider that respects those desires. The best advice for selecting your perfect provider...ask questions! Share your thoughts & desires with your OB or midwife. You can interview them just as you would interview a nanny you hope to hire. Don't settle if you aren't satisfied or feel uncomfortable with your provider.

Do you have an OB or Midwife that you love? What makes them so special to you? I'd love to read about it in the comments!

In a labor of love,

- Natalie CD (DONA)

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