Midwives and Obstetricians do many of the same things; they care for pregnant women and deliver babies. Midwives can work with high risk patients. OBs can work with boringly healthy women. Midwives who work in hospitals, (CNMs or, Certified Nurse Midwives), are backed by OBs who they may consult with if necessary. CNMs do not do Cesarean deliveries or instrument deliveries, (forceps or vacuum) but remain with their patient as an OB would do any such necessary procedures. The main difference between the two professions is generally their approach to birth. This funny anecdote sums up the generalities of the difference, “Midwives view birth as a miracle and leave it alone unless there is a problem. Obstetricians view birth as a problem and it is a miracle if they leave it alone.” While this is a general statement, OBs do often manage labor more medically and CNMs often allow it to unfold more patiently and respectfully, all the while keeping a close eye on interesting developments. That said, there are plenty of CNMs who act and work more like an OB and there are plenty of OBs who are wonderfully amazing at working with a woman’s wishes and honoring the process of birth. Consider what is important to you as you choose a care provider.
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