Midwives And Hospitals: The Next Famous Duo


Are you trying to decide whether to give birth to your child naturally at home with a midwife, or in a hospital setting led by a doctor? One common misconception is that it has to be one or the other. Fortunately, this isn’t the case! A growing trend combines both - a natural birth led by a calm, caring midwife who practices in a hospital setting in collaboration with a supportive obstetrician. You can get the best of both worlds by having the expertise of a midwife while still being steps away from modern technology and emergency medical equipment.

What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a highly trained health professional who combines physical care, emotional support and personal preferences to best meet your needs. Midwives provide expert, individualized care through all stages of a woman’s life including pregnancy, labor, delivery and after birth.

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are trained in both nursing and midwifery, and are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Whether you choose a CNM or an OB/GYN, you’ll have a trained health professional with you to help you every step of the way.

The Care and Support of a Midwife in a Hospital

If you think having both a midwife’s personal care and access to state-of-the-art technology is right for you, you’re not alone. Today, many women are choosing to see nurse midwives for their pregnancy care because of the individualized care and interest they receive from them. At many hospitals, including UnityPoint Health - Waterloo, midwives are working within the hospital where they can collaborate with obstetricians and combine their skillsets.

There is a common myth that by choosing a midwife, you have limited yourself to an all-natural birth plan. However, midwives will support you and your decisions throughout your pregnancy and delivery. Whether you’d like to have an all-natural birth or have the option for medical intervention, your midwife will work with you to create a plan that’s right for you and your new baby.

What are the Benefits of Delivering with a Midwife in a Hospital Setting?

There are many advantages to working with a midwife within a hospital during your pregnancy and delivery.

  • You’ll have access to modern technology.
  • Talented obstetricians are steps away in case of emergencies.
  • You’ll receive personalized care and emotional support from a midwife, who generally treats birth as a natural process that shouldn’t require a lot of medical intervention.
  • Midwives who work in hospital settings have more amenities at their disposal, such as whirlpool baths and hydrotherapy, than midwives delivering in a home setting.

By having a midwife by their sides during labor, women tend to actually need less medical intervention. Because they generally support a natural birthing process, women with low-risk pregnancies whose deliveries are supervised by a Certified Nurse Midwife undergo fewer inductions and are less likely to have a C-section, which leads to a shorter recovery time.

What is the Difference Between an Obstetrician and a Midwife?

While both OB/GYNs and midwives provide exceptional care for women during pregnancy, there are a few differences. OB/GYNs care for all women during pregnancy whether their pregnancy is normal or high-risk, while midwives are trained to handle low-risk pregnancies. OB/GYNs are talented surgical specialists who are equipped to handle emergency situations.

Both midwives and OB/GYNs see a wide range of female patients, including mothers and babies. Because OB/GYNs are also surgical specialists, they are pulled in more directions. Midwives tend to be able to devote more time to get to know you, answer questions and help you learn about the physical and emotional changes you experience throughout your pregnancy.

It can be overwhelming to decide which approach to take when it comes to your pregnancy and the delivery of your baby, but at UnityPoint Health, we can help. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about the coordinated care of a midwife and obstetrician within the hospital. We’ll help create an individualized plan that’s just right for you!


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