Pregnancy and motherhood is the most important phase in a woman's life. If you are a first time mommy-to-be, you may spend inordinate amount of time setting up a nursery for your little one or buying clothes and shoes for your little bundle of joy.
However, along with these preparations you should also give a thought to the most important decision of your pregnancy, and that is the choice of your care giver during pregnancy. You may go for a doctor or you may choose to accept the care from a midwife, the decision is ultimately yours. However, first it would be wise to understand the difference between midwife and doctor.
Difference Between Midwife and Doctor
The first and the most obvious difference between a midwife and a doctor is their gender! Midwife is 99.99% of times a woman, whereas a doctor can be a man or a woman. Given below is a detailed difference between midwife and doctor based upon several parameters.
Educational requirements for becoming a doctor are rigorous, with 11 years of schooling plus 4 years of medical school plus 3 years of residence internship. Midwives are generally classified as Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and direct entry (lay) midwives. CNMs are required to possess a graduation degree (preferably in nursing) and have a medical job experience. They can then pursue a program in midwifery at a nursing school. No such formal education is required for direct entry midwives. They can acquire knowledge and hands on experience by working under the supervision of an experienced midwife.
This factor is highly individual specific as no two doctors or midwives can be same. Although, a doctor may possess immense theoretical knowledge about childbirth, she may have actually attended only a handful of childbirths by the time she is ready to practice on her own. A midwife on the other hand may have attended hundreds of childbirths during her course. She may therefore have more practical knowledge about childbirth. However, if your OB-GYN is a highly qualified person with many years of experience, then her expertise is obviously going to be incomparable.
This is the criteria where midwives win hands down. A midwife often gives special personal attention to her patients than doctor. This is mainly because she has less patients to see, hence can afford to provide more time and care to each individual patient. A doctor on the other hand is always on her toes and sees number of patients. Hence, her visits are often quick and rushed.
This may vary for every woman according to her personal preferences. Some women may find the idea of giving birth in the comfort of her own home very calming, while the same idea may scare the other women. However, many women indeed find a midwife's office more relaxed and comforting than a doctor's.
If you choose to give birth in a hospital, you might have to undergo several unnecessary medical procedures. For instance, a doctor may give you an IV irrespective of whether you need it or not. A midwife on the other hand is not equipped with medical procedures, hence relies on natural labor.
There cannot be any substitute for a doctor when a situation of emergency arises. A doctor is often well informed and equipped to handle such a situation. Hence, high risk pregnancies should be always supervised by a doctor.
As mentioned above, the choice of midwife vs doctor is entirely yours, when you are going to have a low risk or a healthy pregnancy. However pregnancies with possible complications are best handled by a doctor only.