For my first two pregnancies, my prenatal care was done by an OB and it was great. My OB was kind, patient and she listened to my concerns. With my third pregnancy, my prenatal care was done by a family doctor because my OB was just too busy to see me. When I got pregnant with my fourth child, the family doctor who delivered my 3rd baby wasn’t delivering babies anymore and so I decided to finally go with midwives.
In the past, when I thought of a midwife, I thought of someone who delivered babies at home. That’s how the media portrayed them. But really, they are SO much more than that.
What Is a Midwife?
According to the Canadian Association of Midwifes, midwives are health professionals who provide primary care to mothers and their babies during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period.
What training to Midwives have?
In order to become a registered midwife in Canada you need to take a 4 year baccalaureate program.
What do Midwives do?
Midwives provide complete care during pregnancy, including regular visits, diagnostic tests, routine bloodwork, and emotional support. You can call a midwife as soon as you know you are pregnant to request care; you do not need a referral from a doctor.
Now that we know some basic info about midwives, let’s delve into my personal experience having a midwife.
No.1 -They didn’t weigh me or do a urine test every single visit. When I had an OB, they checked my weight and urine every single visit. I’m assuming that my midwives would check those two things more regularly, only if they had a reason to like if I had gestational diabetes. All of my pregnancies were uncomplicated so that could be the reason why. They did check my weight at the initial visit.
No. 2- They explained all the tests to me in more detail and gave me the option to take the test or not. With my first three pregnancies, my doctor would hand me a requisition, explain to me briefly what it was, and then I would be expected to do the test. With my midwife, they explained what the test was for and asked me if I wanted to take the test or not. I was really surprised when they gave me the option.
No. 3- My midwife’s office was right in my community so I didn’t have to travel very far to get there. I really liked how the midwife’s office was really accessible for me. I didn’t have to worry about finding a parking spot or paying for parking. My OB’s office was located in a busy medical building and so you can imagine how busy the parking lot would be. I also didn’t have to worry about an over crowded waiting room. This was a huge benefit for me! As an expecting mom with three kids, time wasn’t something I had much of!
No. 4- My midwife was with me through IT ALL. I really appreciated how the midwife was always there for me through pregnancy, labour and 6 weeks postpartum. You don’t have to worry about meeting a different health care practitioner for your postpartum care. It makes the process more comfortable and smooth.
No. 5- I could call my midwife ANYTIME if I had urgent questions or concerns. After I delivered, I was alarmed as I had developed a lump in my armpit. I immediately called my midwife to tell her about it and she reassured me it was probably a blocked milk duct and advised me to massage the area and apply a cold compress. I did what she recommended and it went away quite quickly. it was nice to be able to call someone that I knew, someone who I had a good relationship with.
No. 6- I had three midwives look after my prenatal care and I got to know each of them well. At first, I was worried about having more than one practitioner look after my prenatal care. But actually, I got to know each one of them really well and they all knew me very well. They were all very kind, knowledgeable and supportive.
No. 7- I was given all the assessment documentation from the delivery at my last prenatal appointment. This was something I never had with my first three pregnancies. I was really happy to get all the assessment information. It’s really interesting and good to know!
No. 8- My last appointment was with the midwife who delivered my baby and she asked me if I had any questions about the birth. I was actually quite surprised to hear this question as I have never been asked this with my previous pregnancies. It would have been nice to hear this when I had my first baby, but with the midwives, I felt so well informed there was nothing to ask.
All in all, I had excellent care with both my doctors and the midwives. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but there was a difference in practice. I was really happy to have midwives look after my prenatal care for my fourth pregnancy. I felt really comfortable with them and they provided all the support I needed. If you are expecting and not sure if you should go with an OB or a midwife, I hope this information helped!