Home » birth » Preparing for Birth: Midwife Model of Care vs. Medical Model of Care

Preparing for Birth: Midwife Model of Care vs. Medical Model of Care

What all goes into preparing for birth? I guess that would depend on who you ask. I asked on Facebook and Twitter

What do you think women of color/women need to be better informed about? 

These were some of the responses…Childbirth education, such as Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Lamaze. What happens when things don’t go as planned, such as getting a epidural, or needing a cesarean. A few other topics I thought of are…Midwife Model of Care vs. Medical Model of Care. Choosing a care provider, Differences in homebirth midwives, lay midwife vs. a certified professional midwife, Doula’s, Breastfeeding, Birth Plans, Home vs. Hospital Birth, Newborn and Postpartum care, I know there’s more. I’m making notes as ideas come. If you think of anything, post it in the comments, or on my Facebook/Twitter.

I thought it would be a good idea to make it into a Preparing for Birth Series. I had no idea about the Midwife and Medical Model of Care until I was pregnant with my 2nd. I know there are lots of women who do know about it, and I’m sure there are a lot of women who don’t know these two different models exist.

The Midwives Model of Care.

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The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle;
  • providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support;
  • minimizing technological interventions; and
  • identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.

The application of this model has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.


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Midwives offer an array of health services. Gynecological exams, family planning, prenatal care, to name a few.
Midwives are qualified health professionals that go through training and certification. When it comes to choosing a midwife you have several options. It also depends if your birthing at home, birth center, or hospital. I’ll talk more in-depth about the different types of midwives in another post.

Lay Midwife
CNM- Certified Nurse Midwife
CPM-Certified Professional Midwife
DEM- Direct Entry Midwife

Appointments with a midwife are generally longer than they would be if you were to see an OB. With a midwife each appointment could last anywhere from 30-60minutes. This is especially true if you are seeing a midwife for a homebirth.

Midwifery focuses on the fact that pregnancy and birth are natural, normal, and not a medical condition.
Birth is viewed and treated as a natural process, a sacred event for all involved.
I always felt like my midwives were such great friends. I could talk to them about anything really. They wanted to hear it all, the good, the bad, and the in between.
After the PPD/PTSD I had after Nakiah’s birth, I made it a point to share this information in my first appointment with my last two pregnancies.
My midwives offered strong emotional support.

Lower maternity costs.If you want a natural birth, a midwife is the way to go. Lower intervention rates, lower cesarean rates, fewer recovery complications.
Midwives can also help with breastfeeding.
Check out this post from Best for Babes on How Midwives Model of Care Can Help You Breastfeed.

The midwife cares for you from the time of pregnancy through birth, and into the postpartum period.
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Medical Model of Care

Trained to focus on the medical aspects of birth. Little emotional support , brief appointments.
Did you know the average length of an appointment with an OB is 8 minutes?

OB’s often use unnecessary medical interventions during the labor and birth process.
With the medical model of care, during labor you are seen and assessed by the nurse until the OB arrives.

Higher rates of forceps, episiotomies, pitocin for inducing birth, higher health care costs.

Of course this is isn’t an exact formula for every care provider. Midwives are wonderful for normal, low risk pregnancies, and OB’s are surgeon’s. I believe they should only be used for high risk pregnancies, providing dual care with a Midwife, and emergency cesareans.You know twins are considered high risk pregnancies, but I’ve read so many birth stories about women who had midwife attended births. Some women have even had unassisted twin births.
I think that midwives can care for women with high risk pregnancies in the hospital working alongside the OB. I would imagine that dual care would produce less interventions.

Have you seen the website My OB said WHAT?!? Women submit true stories of things their OB’s said to them.

So what has been your personal experience? Have you had both an OB and a Midwife, or only one of the two? Which did you prefer? If your on the fence, what do you need to know to make your decision?
I believe that no matter what type of care provider you choose, you need to be informed. That means you do your own research, don’t just do something because it’s always been that way. Why is having a specific type of birth important for you? Decide for yourself. Be Empowered. Take Back Birth.

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3 thoughts on “Preparing for Birth: Midwife Model of Care vs. Medical Model of Care

  1. Pingback: Advice From Strangers « The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe

  2. You are so right. My midwife attended hospital birth was very different from my midwife attended hospital births. I think that’s because the midwives in the hospital are under the OB’s.

  3. All three of my girls’ births were attended by midwives. The last one by a CPM at home and the first two by CNMs in a hospital. They are all midwives, but there was even a difference in the care I received by the CPM vs the CNMs. My shortest “office” visit with the CPM was 30min…longest 2hrs! My longest visit with CNMs was 15min. Unfortunately, many CNMs succumbing to the Medical Model. Working as a L&D nurse I get to witness both models. Both have there place, but most patients assume the doctor knows best!

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