Making the best health care decisions for your pregnancy is probably the most important part of having a baby. Some families prefer the standardization of obstetricians and hospital birthing centers, while others prefer the one-on-one contact a midwife provides. Understanding the pros and cons of choosing a midwife can help make your decision easier.
Pro: Midwives can offer house calls.
One of the nice benefits of having a midwife is home visits. Trying to get your family out the door and to the doctor’s office -- especially towards the end of pregnancy when visits are weekly -- can be tough. Doctors don’t make house calls anymore, but midwives can work outside the system, allowing a little more leniency and a lot more convenience. This is especially beneficial for moms with pre-eclampsia or other complications requiring strict bed rest.
Con: You’ll probably have to pay out of pocket.
Your health care plan might cover standard health care in a doctor’s office, but most health insurance companies do not include a midwife’s services. For families who have to count every penny, a midwife simply isn’t an option. This can be mitigated if you have been planning ahead for pregnancy and are able to set aside a midwife savings fund.
Pro: Midwives offer alternative, holistic care.
Midwives are a great option for alternative pain management, such as massage therapy, breathing techniques, and easier birthing positions. They’re also looking at more than your ultrasound and blood work. Midwifery is a holistic form of health care, which means the goal is a sound mind, body, and baby. Instead of prescriptions, your midwife might help you find an alternate diet and exercise routine to help minimize concerns like morning sickness or weight gain.
Con: Midwives are legally limited in emergency situations.
The scariest part of pregnancy is the potential for maternal or fetal complications, and the reality is that they do happen. Midwives are best for moms with low risk pregnancies. While this profession may be exceptional in general, there are limits to their power. With a midwife, there is also a limit to how much medical care you can receive if you choose to deliver at home.
Pro: Midwives tend to focus more on the woman in front of them.
Doctors are busy, busy people. Unfortunately, this can develop into poor bedside manner, rushed patients, and pregnant families with unanswered questions. Rather than the other 6 patients in the waiting room, a midwife’s focus is the pregnant mother in front of her and how pregnancy and the impending baby will affect life.
Midwives tend to take longer with their patients, offering advice on everything from nutrition to parenting to maintaining relationships in the face of being a new parent. Additionally, midwives do much more than just deliver babies. They can perform annual women checks, order lab work, and many other things you’d expect from your doctor’s office.
Con: Midwives do not have the extent of medical training that doctors do.
Midwives are undoubtedly trained professionals, but they simply do not have the extensive education and training that doctors receive. Your midwife can’t perform a c-section or give you an epidural if you change your mind. In a hospital with a bunch of doctors running around, you have a greater chance of someone who can handle any kind of emergency that crops up.