If you are seeking an individualized, less routine experience, a midwife may be a good choice for you, as opposed to an OB-GYN.  A midwife may have more time to answer questions, and will generally be able to assist with social and psychological issues that an OB-GYN may not be able to.  If you wish to have a birth at home, you will likely need a midwife.  If you cannot find an OB-GYN whose intervention rate you are comfortable with you may need a midwife.

The midwifery approach assumes that pregnancy and birth are normal and natural processes.  The caregiver in this model primarily serves to monitor the mother’s physical, psychological and social well-being.  This approach is most likely to focus on education and assistance, and help explore alternatives for coping with complications, and generally attempting to minimize technical interventions.

There are several things to consider when picking a midwife:

1.  Direct Entry or Certified?  A direct-entry midwife is one who is not required to be a nurse, may or may not have a college degree, may or may not be certified, and may or may not be legal in your state.  In contrast, a certified midwife is one who is educated in both nursing and midwifery, has at least a Bachelor’s degree, has completed an accredited midwife program, is legal and can be licensed in all states, and typically has some kind of agreement with a doctor for consultation and referral.

2.  Can someone recommend a midwife?  While referral may not always be the best way to go, if someone you trust has had a positive experience with a particular midwife you may indeed wish to go the same route.

3.  Interview several midwives.  Make sure their ideas about labor and birth mesh with yours.  Make sure their experience, philosophy and practices are agreeable to you.

What types of things should I consider when choosing a midwife?