I recently started rewatching Grey’s Anatomy, a series that started in 2005 based around the lives of surgeons, and in just the first few episodes, it is a great peek into the brain of an OB. Listen in as I talk about the big differences between an OB and a midwife.
Here’s why you shouldn’t hire an OB for your typical pregnancy.
Two nights ago I started rewatching greys anatomy from episode 1. No the irony is not lost on my that I’m an advocate for unmedicated birth and I love GA. The first 8 ish seasons anyways…
If you’re not familiar the show revolves around surgeons. And if you didn’t know.. your OB is a surgeon too.
The surgeons in this show are all fighting over who gets to go into surgery. They cannot wait to scrub in. They love surgery. There’s even a scene where they are disappointed to give their patients GOOD news because it means.. no surgery for them. That’s whaT makes their job exciting and that’s what They are experts in!
Something to consider when choosing your provider is do you want a surgical expert calling the shots in your birth if your goal is to avoid surgery?!
The differences between an OB and a midwife
Midwives tend to prioritize natural reproduction processes and mother centered care. In fact you can also check out episode 17 called We want the midwifery model for more on why midwifery care is amazing. OBs, meon the other hand, are physicians trained to intervene in abnormal conditions of pregnancy and birth. They are medical experts. They typically provide care in hospital-based settings.
It’s important to change your mindset of seeing the OB as the medical expert who handles more high risk situations, because they do. In fact, Data show that in 2021, 12 percent of all births were attended by a midwife. When we know more than 12% are low risk.
The U.S. and Canada have the lowest overall supply of midwives and ob-gyns — 12 and 15 providers per 1,000 live births. And In the U.S. and Canada, ob-gyns outnumber midwives. Where as, wealthy, industrialized countries have more midwives than OBs in practice. And of course we can’t have this conversation about medicalized birth without also talking about our maternal mortality rate. The maternal mortality rate in the US for 2021 was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019. And we know the US has the highest rate compared to other industrialized countries.
Not all midwives are the same
Midwives vary greatly on how supportive they are of physiologic birth based on the culture of their workplace, the OBs they work under, if they are a midwife in the hospital, birth center or home setting, AND how they trained to become a midwife. You can listen to episode 77, Birth centers aren’t what they seem to learn more about the wide range of differences in out of hospital options.
What I need you to know is that all midwives are medically trained. Midwives get a bad wrap when they do homebirths. But they are just as experienced, if not more, than hospital midwives. Now maybe you have heard the terms medwife and midwife, those are unofficial terms to compare a hospital midwife versus an midwife who works out of the hospital.
What are the different types of midwives?
CNM, CM, and CPM are all medically trained, certified or licenced midwives. (licensed by the state)
CNMs are Certified Nurse Midwives. They are nurses who have completed a graduate-level nurse-midwife program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
CMs are Certified Midwives. They are non-nurses who have completed a graduate-level midwifery degree program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Essentially, CMs went straight into midwifery instead of going to nursing school first.
A CPM is a Certified Professional Midwife. They have met the certification requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). To qualify to take the NARM exam they must either apprentice with a qualified midwife and complete a Portfolio Evaluation Process or instead of being an apprentice, they must graduate from a midwifery program or school.
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