We are often asked “What is the difference between a midwife and a doctor?” and that’s a great question. Both are skilled for low-risk births but physicians, called Obstetricians are skilled in the pathology of birth which gives them expertise for high-risk births. Midwives are trained in the normalcy of birth and view it as a healthy and normal life event. Midwives also discourage interventions when unnecessary and offer natural alternatives instead. Interventions often lead to cesarean delivery. Both Obstetricians and midwives must be licensed and follow very strict state regulations in order to keep their license. The biggest difference is that obstetricians are qualified to perform high-risk births and perform cesareans.
A few stats:
- Out-of-hospital Midwives have the lowest cesarean rates of 4-5% and their outcomes are just as good as hospital outcomes.
- Hospital midwives have higher cesarean rates than out-of-hospital midwives and obstetricians have the highest rates. (Carol Sakala and Maureen P. Corry, Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What it is and What it Can Achieve (New York: Milbank Memorial Fund, 2008)
- In 1989, certified nurse-midwives delivered 3.2 percent of all U.S. babies and the most up to date data from 2008 leads us to 12.1%.
- A 2011 study found that births led by midwives are less likely to end in a C-section than births led by obstetricians alone.
It’s also very common for your midwife to spend more time with you than an Obstetrician. They spend more time with patients than a physician can because physicians can get pulled in so many different directions at a hospital.
We certainly hope this has helped you but if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are always happy to help with any questions that you may have.
Remember… Your Body, Your Baby and Your Choice.