Originally Posted by jencat
Ok, so this is already a long post but I've been wondering about something... what exactly is the difference between an ob/gyn and a mid-wife? And what are the pros and cons? I think I partly understand this but was curious to hear why you all have chosen one or the other...
- this is an excellent question and I hope more people chose to respond to it. I ended up chosing a midwife for a couple of reasons. The most important reason was because I am SERIOUSLY distressed by the C-sec rate in the U.S. and I do NOT want a C-sec unless is it 100% necessary for the my health or the health of the babe. A midwife (unlike an OB) simply does not have the option of cutting you open and pulling the baby out. If a midwife thinks you need C-sec, you probably do. I just felt like I needed to be able to truly trust a recommendation for a C-sec and believe it was due to medical necessesity. With an OB, I worry that I would always doubt whether it was, you know? I am kinda suspicious in that way.
Other reasons I chose a midwife was because I wanted someone was not only comfortable (in theory) with letting me have freedom (to move, to eat, to be unmedicated, to not be monitored) but who also had practical experience with women making those choices. I really worried that an OB might say he/she was comfortable with all of those things, but then freak out the sec anything stopped being "by the books" (OMG, she isn't dialating at 1 cm per hour, we must give her some medication or something terrible will happen) and push their idea of how labor should be on to me. I truly want to avoid this because my DH is already very nervous about my idea of how labor should be handled and having a MD strongly suggest I do a particular thing is going to make DH really want me to comply. I KNOW that in a weakened state of labor (especially a labor that isn't by the book) I will not have the energy to refuse. With a midwife I know that I will be getting a birthing professional who is comfortable and practiced with many different kinds of births (rather than the women on her back, medicated, and monitored). I guess I wanted someone who's thinking isn't "My wierdo patient wants to TRY for an unmedicated unmonitored birth. Good luck sweetheart" (OB) but instead, "You and I will actively work together to try to get you an unmedicated unmonitored birth. You can do it" (Midwife). That isn't to say that there aren't OBs who think more like midwives, it's just that they are harder to find.
Then there were other things involving prenatal care - I wanted minimal testing/intervention during pregnancy and I simply felt that a midwife would be more supportive of me refusing or individualizing my testing/prenatal monitoring schedule.
And finally, I really respect and am grateful to the midwife profession and felt like my pregnancy was a prefect time to demonstrate this by chosing a midwife as my medical provider.