Midwife vs OB: My Experience with both

Before Baby K.A.M.s conception I knew that my next child would be born naturally. Since I have led a very conscious lifestyle for quite sometime, making the decision to have a natural birth was a simple one. Ensuring that my baby has a healthy conscious entrance into this world is my number one priority. I will digress and say that I did not have the same experience with my first son. I was young and invincible. I knew nothing of being natural or healthy. I was still young and not worried about weight so I ate pretty much however I wanted. I ate meat, fast foods, processed, prepackaged meals like they were going out of style. They were cheap and I was out living on my own at 20.

This time I was sure that I wanted to have a water birth so the baby would have a smooth transition from womb to world. But that was all I really knew about natural birth, well that and that you didn’t get to use drugs. Drugs like Pitocin to induce contractions & Epidural to ease the pain. My first encounter with the OB was fine, sterile & cold but fine. Peed in a cup, got blood taken, all the basic stuff. It was still too early for a sonogram or heartbeat. All was well until I mentioned a water birth and having an all natural pregnancy. I remember her giving me a look like I was a silly child. That would be the first of many health professionals to completely discount my wishes to honor my bodies ability to grow a child and give birth with out the help of modern medicine.

After my first OB visit I started looking into getting a midwife. I did not take the plunge at that point to go from OB to Midwife but I wanted to learn more. I sent a few emails and waited for responses. In the meanwhile I started to be taken over by what I thought at first was normal morning sickness but turned out to be Hypermesis Gravidarum. 4 days into not being able to put anything my mouth, I called my OB and she immediately prescribed Zofran. I refused to take it. Zofran is a drug created to help chemotherapy patients with nausea, it is commonly used in early pregnancy to treat nausea as well.  By day 6 I thought I would die. I called the on call OB and explained my plight. Can’t eat or drink, not for days, urine is brown, dehydration symptoms set in, blah, blah. He told me that if I did not take the medicine there was nothing he could do. He even informed me that going to the emergency room was pointless, you will see later he was right. This doctor just could not understand why I would not just “help” myself by taking medication.

Four days later I thought I was going to die, 10 days, no food, no water. Needless to say I landed in Urgent Care for a moment until they immediately sent me to the ER. This after not being able to find my blood pressure (yes it was pretty bad). Both Urgent Care & the ER stressed the need to take some kind of anti-nausea medications. All I would allow them was to give me a saline (salt & water) IV so I could get some strength back. After this encounter I was done with doctors. Especially when I saw the lawsuit for Zofran on TV 2 days later: SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE: heart deformities, cleft lip & cleft pallet when taken in first trimester of pregnancy.  I went straight to nearest Midwifery center without passing go or collecting $200.

The birthing center was fine. Comfortable atmosphere, nice nurses, midwives & staff.  I would actually recommend this setting if you don’t want to birth at home or in the water.  I got to hear Baby K.A.M.s heartbeat, did blood work, original dating sonogram (ended up being totally wrong, another blog) & got lots of questions answered.

Baby K.A.M. Approx 8 weeks
Baby K.A.M. Approx 8 weeks

I unfortunately ran into a speed bump when I found out that the Midwifery did not offer care for home appointments or births. I also found that the practices of the center were very similar to the regular OB. It was definitely more informal but I still got a very medical vibe.  I will say that if you want a more laid back experience and a medical setting makes you more comfortable, a birthing center is the way to go.  You can labor in the water there but not actually give birth.  The midwives at the practice will not attend a home birth either.  I am so glad I continued looking because I found the perfect alternative to hospitals & birthing centers, the Private Midwife. So let’s discuss the actual difference between an Obstetrician and a Midwife.

WHAT IS AN OBSTETRICIAN?

Obstetricians are physicians who have completed four years of medical school and an additional four years of an obstetric residency program.  They must take a written and oral exam to be board certified. Obstetricians deliver in hospitals and are prepared for major pregnancy complications. More often than not these complications arise from too much intervention.  Obstetricians are able to perform Caesarian sections if the need arises.  They tend to use medical interventions: induction, episiotomies, forceps, Caesarian section, etc.  Being in the hospital also means that you can have epidural, a body numbing drug that virtually removes all of the pain.  You can get Pitocin to speed along contractions if the doctor doesn’t feel like your body is moving fast enough. Only problem is when using those drugs  your bodies own natural cocktail of oxytocin & endorphins don’t kick in like they should but I’ll get more into that in another blog about pregnancy hormones.

WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?

Midwives are traditional care providers for mothers & infants. They are registered nurses and most have completed an additional two year masters degree program in midwifery.  Certification exams are required by most states.  The word Midwife comes from the old English words Mit meaning “with” and Wif meaning “woman”. Midwifery is an empowering model of maternity care that is practiced in most countries around the world. The care includes preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum care and beyond. Midwives must be certified in most states and are able to conduct physical exams and order laboratory, screening & other diagnostic tests. Midwives tend to be more holistic and a good choice if you want to have an unmedicated natural birth.  They tend to avoid using medical interventions: induction, episiotomies, forceps, Caesarian section, etc…

Midwives regard birth as a natural process that the female body is designed to handle instead of a sickness in need of a cure.  Your appointments can be conducted in the office or in the comfort of your own home. Better yet, you can give birth wherever you want to in the hospital, in birthing center or at your home.  There is a strong focus on emotional support, health & wellness.  If you want someone that has a more laid back natural approach and supports you in making your own decisions about birth, a Midwife may just be right for you.

Sculpture of women giving wirth with help of midwife & doula
Sculpture of women giving wirth with help of midwife & doula

TYPES OF MIDWIVES & REQUIRED CERTIFICATIONS

Midwives can be either Clinical or Private. Clinical Midwives tend to work in hospitals and birthing centers, your appointments will be held in a clinical office. With this option you will probably work with a midwifery team as opposed to one specific midwife.  Private Midwives can attend both hospital and birthing center deliveries; however you also have the option to give birth at home or even outdoors.  Your prenatal appointments can be in a private office, the home of the midwife or in the comfort of your own home.  Below are the types of Midwives & the required certifications.

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): an individual trained and licensed in both nursing and midwifery. Nurse-midwives possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): an individual trained in midwifery who meets practice standards of the North American Registry of Midwives.
Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): an independent individual trained in midwifery through a variety of sources that can include: self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college/university program.
Certified Midwife (CM): an individual trained and certified in midwifery. Certified midwives possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives
Lay Midwife: an individual who is not certified or licensed as a midwife but has been trained informally through self-study or apprenticeship.

Since I have no complications  & labor easily, this is a no brainier for me.  I made an appointment as soon as I could with my midwife. My first visit with my midwife was at my home free of charge. She spent over an hour giving me info, answering questions. She has had children of her own naturally and also has many years of experience in both hospital and home births. Her certifications include CPM, LM & CEIM.  Not only that she is half British & half Indian (she is so little & cute) both cultures that have not gotten away from the natural way of birthing.  And she lives 15 minutes from my house, how convenient is that?  Her company is Birth Traditions Midwifery, click on the link for more info.

PARVEEN-MIDWIFE
PARVEEN KELLY-BIRTH TRADITIONS MIDWIFERY

My first appointments was delayed because another mom was giving birth, you have to be flexible. Parveen, Midwife & Tone, Birthing assistant & Doula, were kind enough to meet us at our home later that afternoon to have the appointment.  I had my entire appointment on the couch. I even got to be greedy and eat.  Baby K.A.M.s brother was home for spring break and got to hear the heartbeat. The teen boys were not impressed and continued to play on the Playstation while I got my tummy measured on the couch. I got a wealth of information & tea recipes to help with nutrient intake, nausea & overall health.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, even Papa Bear liked the experience, though I can still tell he has his doubts a out having the baby at home.  As can be expected, fathers usually worry too much.

I feel so empowered and strong doing this process naturally.  Having a strong team of powerful women, who have given birth themselves really makes me confident in my decision.   I know that my child’s entry into this world will be be calm, peaceful & full of love. The benefits to my child will be tremendous. I plan to listen to my body and get through this challenging yet rewarding process one contraction at a time.

In the meanwhile I will be posting more on Baby K.A.M.s conscious journey into this unconscious world and tons of other healthy lifestyle & nutrition information.  So excited to change the world one mother & baby at a time.  Subscribe and check back soon. ❤️❤️

2 thoughts on “Midwife vs OB: My Experience with both”

  1. This is some really good information about midwives. My best friend is about to have a baby and she is wondering if she wants to use a midwife for the birth. I liked that you pointed out that they are mainly used for natural births. My friend wants her first birth to be a natural one and so it seems like getting a midwife might be smart.

    1. Definitely get a midwife…get a Doula too get as much support a possible…especially having a female that is outside of your personal life and also has had experience with her own births a definite plus. Good luck sorry so late…

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