Parenting & Pregnancy: OBGYN vs midwife, which is best for you?

Doctors and midwives work seamlessly with one another to give their patients the best care.

Posted: Oct 8, 2020 6:04 PM
Updated: May 3, 2021 11:06 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Women's Care is full of OBGYNs and teams of midwives helping women through every phase of life, including pregnancy. Women's Care wants newly pregnant moms to know they have options for care.

Doctors and midwives work seamlessly with one another to give their patients the best care. Certified Nurse Midwife Brooklynn Travis says midwives use evidence-based care and focus on nutrition and the overall health of a woman during pregnancy.

“Birth is a normal physiological process and so everything that we can do support a woman's body naturally through this process is what we focus on,” Travis says.

A midwife is an advanced practice nurse who has a graduate level training in women's care and obstetrics. They are a great option for a person that is generally healthy and has no preexisting complications, or in other words, someone considered low risk.

For those pregnancies that may be considered high risk, an OBGYN, or a medical doctor that has completed residency in obstetrics and gynecology, may be a better option. Women's Care Dr. Heather York says an OBGYN is trained for problems that may come about with a high-risk pregnancy.

“A high-risk pregnancy is someone with a medical problem before pregnancy. Or someone who is older when they are expecting their child. Someone who has had a C-section before, or a multitude of medical problems that might contribute to issues during the pregnancy, like high blood pressure and diabetes,” York says.

If a low-risk pregnancy becomes a high-risk pregnancy, Travis says the patient can "risk out" of a midwife's care. But with OBGYNs right there, it's easy to transfer care.

“We have our doctors, our OBGYNs, just outside the door. And we can open the door, and stick our head out, and have an OBGYN in the conversation that we're having,” says Travis.

On the other hand, if a patient is healthy and everything is going well in the pregnancy, an OBGYN may ask if you want to transfer to a midwife's care.

“It makes it very easy to collaborate our care together, so if they have a patient who develops a risk factor or has a risk factor, we can work together on. And having our midwives here really allows them to continue to care for their patient, just with support from the doctor if needed,” says York.

“It goes both ways and I think that's what's important to highlight about a team, it really is a two-way street between the midwives and OBGYNs. It's a really healthy, really fun collaboration to be a part of,” says Travis.

Both midwives and doctors have similar prenatal care, but if you’re looking for a lot of information throughout your pregnancy, midwife appointments tend to be longer to cover everything.

Both midwives and OBGYNs deliver babies at RiverBend. There are two low-intervention rooms for midwifery care, but they are located on the same floor as the other delivery rooms, operating rooms, and NICU, in case the birth plan changes.

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