Originally Posted by sannez
What are your opinions regarding a midwife vs. an OB?
My sister strongly believes in midwives, and I understand they are present during your actual labor and help you try to obtain an unmedicated birth...
Very generally, the midwifery model of childbirth approaches pregnancy and childbirth as a natural, normal phenomenon that carries some natural risks, while the medical model of childbirth approaches pregnancy and childbirth as a medical condition requiring medical management and all the technologies and interventions that can involve. In my mind, another major difference is how involved the mom is: in the midwifery model, she is the primary actor in her birth, and she has a lot of agency; in the medical model, the mother tends to be treated more as a passive patient and the healthcare provider (and technology) has a more important role.
BUT! Individual midwives and OBs vary WIDELY in their personal philosophies. One midwife might be very proactive and pushy with medical interventions, while another OB might be very happy to sit back and let a labor take its natural course (barring true medical emergencies, of course). So it's really important to interview potential caregivers to make sure their personal philosophies are a good fit with yours. It can be really daunting, especially when you are feeling tired and sick from your pregnancy, but finding the right match can really help you get the experience you want. Also, there are a ton of resources available, from asking friends and family for referrals, to asking at your MDC Find Your Tribe thread, to google searches.
Also, some midwives may be present during your labor, but it has been my experience that midwives who work within a hospital tend not to be present other than check-ins until the end, more like an OB. If you are looking for continuous emotional support throughout your entire labor, I would highly suggest hiring a doula. (I swear I'm not biased, even though I am training to become a doula ;))
If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me. As you can probably tell, I'm really passionate about this stuff ;)