Today’s Midwife: Comparing Midwives and Obstetricians

Why choose a midwife when one can have an OB/GYN? While a mother must choose what kind of care is appropriate for her, there are several good reasons why she might choose a midwife over a doctor. First, a woman will get to know a midwife (in most cases) far better than she would a doctor.


On average, a visit to a doctor during pregnancy lasts five to ten minutes. A visit to your local midwife allows you 50 minutes of her time. When labor and delivery comes, many women are surprised to find their doctor isn’t there until the baby is crowning. The doctor may be close by. He or she might come in periodically to check your progress, but he/she is not in the room. If the hospital is having a busy night or if someone comes in with an emergency, you may not even have a nurse with you. Unless you hire a doula, you and whomever you bring with you should be prepared to spend a large portion of your time alone. What time is spent with you (by either a doctor or nurse) is usually clinical, having to do with checking your vitals or performing the duties of rounds.

CPM-TN’s stay with you from the moment labor is active until the baby is born (and for several hours post partum as well).


The Midwives Model of Care requires of a Midwife that her care be continuous and holistic. While she does provide the clinical management required for safety, she understands birth is about life, not about medicine. She is trained to help you manage labor and delivery in a medically sound way without taking away the rest of the experience. It is important to remember that a home birth midwife will only handle low risk pregnancy and delivery. Not all pregnant women are good candidates for a home birth. When the Midwife’s screening process finds that you are “high risk,” which can happen at any time during a pregnancy, she will be able to help you find a caring OB to take over your care. Usually, this will be the one who consults with her on your “case.”

Alternative Treatments

Since midwifery is a holistic model of care, a CPM-TN will also be more likely than an OB to be trained in alternative treatment modalities such as herbs, homeopathy, or natural medicine. While no one is required to use such treatments, with a midwife you will likely have the choice. You will get more input and advice on diet and exercise as well.