Pregnancy Guide

Pros and cons of midwives vs. doctors

Pros and cons of midwives

During pregnancy, it is mandatory to take precautions and make the right decisions, such as choosing locations to spend the time of pregnancy, diet and amount of exercise to be done. One of the most important decisions to take is who should be in charge of the pregnant woman. Basically, there are two kinds of people who are available for this job – doctor and midwife. While doctor is a traditional option, and has been sought for mainly in suburban and urban regions, midwives were the first ones to treat pregnancy, more concentrated in the rural areas and slowly gaining popularity. The reason of why this decision is important lies in the fact that it is this person who will be with the to-be mother throughout the pregnancy period, and will be responsible for all the activities that will occur in this time-frame.

Each of the above person is capable in its own way, but it is the requirement of the woman that should be given the first priority. Following are the positives and negatives of each kind of caretaker, which will help one make the right choice.

Doctor

Doctor is considered to be the most obvious choice today. Obstetricians and gynecologists are the ones who take care and preferred by pregnant women because of their emergency-handling ability and use of advanced technology to make the stage of pregnancy more bearable. Giving birth to the child becomes easier and manageable when a doctor is in charge of the process.

Following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a doctor for prenatal care.

Advantages

1. Familiarity

The greatest advantage of having a doctor is that he/she becomes familiar with the pregnant woman due to frequent visits and testing. This familiarity, later on, shapes into trust and friendship that helps in more bearable child-delivery in the last stage.

2. Expertise

Obstetricians and gynecologists have been trained specifically for such roles, which ensures expert hands when taken care by them. This not only ensures professional approach to crises and vital stages, but also gives psychological strength to the woman under the scanner, as she knows that she has been handled by those who have spend years studying processes of pregnancy and delivery.

3. Pain management

Doctors are able to prescribe and administer various drugs and medications as well as order an epidural should you decide to go that route during labour, whereas midwives are not qualified to do either.

4. The option of a C-section

There are women who favor Phill-section for sooner and better birth options. This option is available when one goes for a doctor. A midwife usually go for natural birth, and make for Phill-section only in emergency cases.

Disadvantages

1. Lack of personal attention

Doctors are most sought-after, which is also a major disadvantage, as it does not guarantee the patient of a more personalized treatment. These people have a professional air, and are not expected to sit by the bedside to comfort the patient. Status of the patient, medication that will be required, time of next visit … done. Beyond that, the doctor does not deal with the patient during the pregnancy period.

2. Lack of time

As most of the patients make a beeline for doctors, they are robbed of time, which make them incapable at times to be at one’s side when she is under labor. This does not give much confidence to the woman, though she is being attended by a talented staff.

3. Not willing to explore other options

Notorious for their contempt for alternative and natural remedies, doctors are believed to encourage more invasive procedures and unnecessary medication than a midwife would.

4. High price

When compared to giving birth at home with a midwife in attendance, paying for an obs/gyn and a hospital delivery (especially an elective caesarean) is a very expensive exercise.

Midwife

Midwives have been in existence long before doctors came in. Whenever there used to be a woman in labor, people used to sought out these women, and they used to assist nearly all the successful deliveries. They remain a force even today, though demand for them has fallen down due to late-pregnancies and advent of advanced technology. Still midwives have some advantages that a doctor can never have.

Advantages

1. Flexibility

With a midwife, one gets to choose the birth that is right for her – have her baby how she wants, where she wants and surrounded by the people she wants. This flexibility leads to a more relaxed labor, which can result in fewer interventions and less medication.

2. Personal touch

Midwives offer invaluable guidance and friendship to their patients. The value of this support cannot be overstated, and is also the reason given by the vast majority of women for choosing a midwife for subsequent pregnancies.

3. Experience

Far from being less qualified than medical doctors, midwifes have in most cases delivered just as many (if not more) babies than the average obs/gyn. This practical experience often means that less intervention is required, with fewer episiotomies, epidurals and medical procedures being carried out in midwife-assisted births. Many midwives these days have also had experience in waterbirth and hypnobirth, which may be an option for the patient.

4. Cheaper

Apart from the advantages of being in one’s own comforting environment, giving birth at home with a midwife in attendance is substantially cheaper than going the doctor/hospital route.

Disadvantages

1. Lack of safer environment

There is no argument: a clinic is an impersonal, sometimes unwelcoming, place to give birth compared to the warm familiarity of your own home or cozy maternity home. That being said, there is great comfort in knowing that, in a hospital, medical help is just seconds away should an emergency arise.

2. Lack of medical expertise

Midwives are not trained doctors and, as such, do not have the level of medical know-how that an obs/gyn does. Her training could have been completed decades ago, too, which means that she is simply not up to speed on advancements in the field of childbirth.

3. Not a wide range of medication-options

Unless the midwife has a doctor on call, access to pain medication is limited. This may be fine if all goes smoothly, but if the patient have a particularly painful or prolonged labour, she may want to keep her options open.

4. Limited area of operation

Due to their limitations, the services of midwives are recommended only if the patient is fit as a fiddle and the pregnancy poses no risk. So, if the patient are classified as high-risk, there’s not much to decide – it is most likely that she will be strongly advised to place herself under the care of a specialist obs/gyn and have her baby in a well-equipped clinic.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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