Should You Choose and OBGYN or a Midwife?

If you’re expecting a baby, you’re likely already aware of the large number of decisions you’ll have to make throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s first few weeks. One of the biggest choices will come with the type of care provider you select. This individual will care for you during your pregnancy and will deliver your baby when he or she is ready to enter the world. Depending on your personal preferences, experience having babies, and beliefs about childbirth and prenatal care, you may choose either an OBGYN as your primary care doctor during your pregnancy or you may prefer a midwife. We’re here to break down the differences for you and help you make the best decision for you and your baby during your pregnancy.

Both types of medical professionals are going to give you prenatal care, labor and delivery support, and postpartum care. There are a number of factors that will go into your decision, and your preference of care provider will be based on those factors. Some of those factors include the type of birth you want, the amount of support you want during labor, what type and how much pain management you anticipate wanting, your expectations during labor and how much freedom you’ll want during the process, the amount of support and advice you’ll want after the birth and throughout your pregnancy, whether or not you are high-risk, and your overall health. Education is key, both for you and your partner, as you embark on this journey towards parenthood. OBGYNs are the most common type of medical provider to serve pregnant women today, although more and more women are turning to midwives for their prenatal, labor, and delivery care. Know what types of services and the type of care each provider will offer you, and make your decision based on your preferences and desires for your labor and birthing experience.


OBGYNs are medical doctors who are specially trained to provide care and surgical procedures to women. They are experts in the female reproductive system, pregnancy, and female problems that require surgery or advanced medical attention. OBGYNs offer a variety of options for labor and delivery, including vaginal birth with or without medication, planned caesarian section, and emergency caesarian section. They are supportive of any and every type of pain management technique, though they are generally seen as less supportive of completely natural births, especially when labor progresses slowly. OBGYNs generally offer less freedom in the delivery room and may require women to lie down during labor and be under constant monitoring. This is dependent on the physician, however, so if you want to utilize OBGYN care but wish to have certain freedoms during labor, have a conversation with your doctor about what they are okay with. Obstetrician/gynecologists will always answer your questions during prenatal visits and will help you to feel comfortable with everything you experience during pregnancy. They are always willing to refer you to specialists outside their realm of expertise should you need it, but they are less likely to spend a great deal of time advising you during doctor’s appointments. Generally speaking, OBs won’t be in the room with you during your labor. You will have a number of nurses tending to you and helping you work through the labor pain, but the OB will typically only stop in occasionally and show up for the actual birth. Thanks to medical advancements and the specialty of OBGYNs, they can provide care for any woman during her pregnancy, regardless of her current or past health and any possible complications or high-risk labels that she is facing.

Midwifery Care

Midwives are trained medical professionals with expertise in obstetrics and newborn care. They specialize in prenatal care, labor and delivery support, and postpartum care, and they are known for providing more personalized and attentive care to women throughout the entire process of their pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Midwives usually provide more family-centered care and typically provide support for more natural birthing experiences. If you are passionate about having a vaginal birth with no medicine of any kind, a midwife is a great choice. They have a number of natural pain-relief techniques that can help you minimize pain, speed up labor, and encourage a natural and quick delivery. Midwives are also known for allowing more freedom during labor, such as the ability to eat and drink, as well as the ability to move around and change positions during labor. Midwives are typically present for the entirety of your labor, and they can provide breathing and pain-relief techniques while you’re waiting for baby’s arrival. Midwives typically spend more time with you at prenatal appointments, talking about any concerns you might have, answering questions about the baby’s or your own health, and helping you feel at ease with your pregnancy and your upcoming labor and delivery. Midwives typically only serve women who are considered low-risk, but there are some exceptions. They always work with obstetricians so that in the case of an emergency, they could turn to another medical professional for support. Additionally, if you ended up needing a caesarian section, the obstetrician they work with would be able to perform that. Midwives are also more willing to take on individuals who have previous C-sections but wish to have a vaginal birth with this pregnancy. They believe that minimal intervention is best and that is it only appropriate when absolutely necessary.

No matter which type of care provider you would prefer during your pregnancy, NCHS has an excellent staff made up of both OBGYNs and midwives to best serve you. Get in touch with us today or come into one of our many locations to learn more about our midwifery services, our OBGYN care, and our other health services.