One choice that you may not have considered as an expectant mom is that of choosing between a traditional doctor (OBGYN or family practitioner) or a midwife. Midwives are becoming a much more popular choice these days, and there are many great reasons why.
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*Note: I am speaking in broad terms about both midwives and doctors. While most midwives focus on natural birth and most doctors do not, this is not always the case. This post is not meant to offend anyone in either profession, but simply to open the reader’s eyes to the wonderful work of midwives.*
What Is A Midwife?
Simply put, a midwife is a specialist in normal pregnancy and birth, which may occur in a home, a birth center, or a hospital. She cares for each woman individually and focuses on providing a calm and natural environment for birth. She provides the full range of prenatal care for the mother, careful to consider the woman’s history as well as her current lifestyle.
When it is time for labor and birth, she will assist the mother in finding the best labor positions, encourage her to eat and drink during labor, and ultimately, help bring a healthy baby into the world without medical assistance (except under necessary conditions).
How Is A Midwife Different From A Doctor?
A midwife is different from a traditional doctor because of her focus on natural birth. Though some doctors focus on natural birth (and some midwives do not), as a general rule, this is not the case.
Midwives are trained to pay attention to the woman and the baby, meeting their needs and providing care in the most natural way.
Doctors, however, are trained to treat pregnancy more like an ailment that needs to be remedied, hence their tendency to prescribe medication and suggest inductions and surgeries.
A midwife steps back and lets pregnancy and birth take its natural course, while a doctor steps in and suggests a course for it to take.
What Are The Benefits of Choosing A Midwife Over A Traditional Doctor?
The benefits of choosing a midwife over a traditional doctor are numerous.
Midwives have a significantly lower rate of c-section than traditional doctors, which means a quicker recovery time for the mother and a lower cost of birth. In addition, midwives are less likely to suggest medical induction or the use of an epidural, which also provides for a faster recovery.
Since most midwives are not involved in insurance networks, they are able to spend more time with the women to whom they are providing care, which gives mothers (and fathers) more time for questions and birth education. This also gives midwives the chance to get to know the families on a personal level, creating a level of comfort that is generally missing with a traditional doctor.
Finally, since midwives are trained to focus on natural birth, they are able to provide more options for mothers when problematic situations arise during pregnancy and labor, instead of automatically turning to medical intervention.
How Much Does A Midwife Cost?
Unfortunately, cost is what prohibits many women from choosing a midwife over a traditional doctor. Most insurance policies do not include midwives in their networks; however, if you are part of a healthcare sharing program such as Liberty HealthShare or Samaritan Ministries, the cost of a midwife may be covered, at least in part.
Assuming that your insurance does not cover the cost of a midwife, you are looking at an overall fee of between $4,000 and $7,000. This includes all prenatal care, labor, birth, and at least one postpartum visit.
The cost varies depending on the location of the birth (hospital, home, or birth center), as well as other factors unique to each midwife. This cost is generally paid out over the course of the pregnancy, and some midwives do offer discounts for early payment.
For more information on midwives, I recommend the following resources:
Have you given birth with a midwife? If so, what was your experience like? If not, what other questions do you have? Leave me a comment and let me know!
More on natural birth: