There are several factors which will determine the best option for your prenatal, labor and delivery care. The experience you want to have, where you’d prefer to give birth, the risk level of your pregnancy and your insurance coverage will all have a bearing on this decision.
For pregnant women with medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure or a history of complications during pregnancy, an obstetrician is almost always the best and safest choice. It’s also not uncommon for women to begin their prenatal experience under the care of a midwife and be transferred to an obstetrician at a later point in the pregnancy due the the discovery of complications, multiple births or an upgrade in risk level. If you plan to have an epidural or want to give birth in a hospital over a home birth or birthing center, you may also find that an obstetrician is more well-suited to your individual needs.
Women who give birth under the care of a midwife tend to have fewer interventions like episiotomy, epidural or continuous fetal monitoring. They also tend to have a lower rate of cesarean section. Midwife care is typically a more holistic experience, and most midwives will offer the option of a guided, non-medicated birth or an epidural. Birthing centers are more commonly staffed with midwives and are generally considered to be more welcoming to natural, low-intervention birth plans. Many midwives will also oversee a home birth, while obstetricians will not.
Choosing the right kind of prenatal care for yourself and your unborn child is an essential aspect of pregnancy. For many women, choosing an OB/GYN practice which includes both midwives and obstetricians provides a more relaxed and informative setting for choosing the right option. This may also facilitate a smoother transition from midwife to obstetrician if you develop complications or are discovered to be carrying multiples.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates