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Which is Better: Midwife, Doula or Doctor?

Which is Better: Midwife, Doula or Doctor?

What's the difference between a doctor and midwife?

One of the keys to a positive pregnancy and birth is finding a good healthcare provider, says Dahl. "It's important to create a whole health team around you so that you have good support and good information throughout your pregnancy." A lot of women don't realize they have a choice when it comes to caregivers, she says. "You can choose to have either a doctor or midwife and it's up to you to decide who can support you best in the decisions that you're making." Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Midwives usually take a more holistic approach to childbirth and offer women with healthy, low-risk pregnancies the choice of having their babies at home or in a hospital or birth center.

  • Midwives offer the same standard tests as doctors, although their appointments tend to be longer (usually about 45 minutes) and some of these appointments may even take place in your home. They are also usually available for questions or concerns 24 hours a day by pager.

  • Whoever you choose to assist you, find out all you can about them. "We spend more time finding contractors for our homes and researching their qualifications than we do when choosing a person to be in charge of our births," says Dahl. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions, she says.

  • If you're interviewing a doctor, find out what their C-section rate is and how they feel about induction and drug-free births. If you're quizzing a midwife, ask her to explain all the alternative options open to you, such as water births or hypno-birthing.

  • To find the best doctor, interview three doulas and see who they like working with the most, she says. And talk to a midwife's patients about their experiences–word of mouth is often a safe bet.

  • Regardless of whether you're choosing a doctor or midwife, you need to look at personality. "If you feel you're not being respected by your caregiver, then that is not the caregiver for you," says Dahl. "And you can switch to someone new right up to the time you give birth."