OB/GYNs vs Midwives

You may have just gotten that positive pregnancy test, or maybe you’ve known now for a week or two. And it miiiiight be starting to hit you that you’re actually pregnant. Perhaps you’re starting to freak out a little bit, overanalyze every weird twinge or symptom you feel, and you probably have about a million questions if this is your first time around the pregnancy block. Hang in there!

Choosing a Care Provider

One of the most important things you can do at this stage of your pregnancy is find a care provider. You’ll be due for your first ultrasound here in a few weeks, and this is a great time to pick a healthcare professional to work with, if you haven’t already. If you didn’t know, there are 3 standard location options for where you will deliver your baby. They are: hospital birth, birth center birth, or home birth. Also sometimes a car birth or grocery store birth occur, but that is certainly never the original plan.

Some of the main factors when it comes to your birth location are: your financial and insurance situation, what you and your birth partner/s are most comfortable with, and who your care provider will be. If you choose an OB/GYN to care for you during pregnancy and delivery, you will have to deliver in a hospital. Doctors cannot attend birth center deliveries or home births. Another option is a midwife - they essentially can do the exact same things as OBs can, they just have a different educational background and usually a somewhat different approach to prenatal appointments and birth, although not always. The third option is a free birth, where you intentionally give birth at home without a healthcare professional in attendance, but that is not a common practice.

Choosing a Maternity Care Provider

Your care provider will monitor you during pregnancy, answer questions you have, educate you on birth plans and practices, and, when the time comes, deliver your baby. The number one most important question to ask yourself when you are choosing a healthcare provider is: “Do I feel 100% comfortable with and respected by this person?” If the answer is not a resounding “yes!” then you should not feel bad about searching for someone else. You can change providers right up until you give birth – seriously!

Remember, choosing a care provider is no different than hiring someone. You will be spending 9 months visiting that person’s office for checkups, asking them all your questions, and they will most likely be putting their hands where the sun doesn’t shine and seeing you fully naked!! It’s so so so important that you feel completely at ease with your OB or midwife and trust them with your life.

Some good questions to ask when you are “interviewing” a care provider are:

  • How much time will you be able to spend with me to answer questions during each prenatal appointment?
  • What percentage of your patients deliver via C-section in comparison to vaginal?
  • What’s your opinion on induction?
  • How many ultrasounds will your office perform during my pregnancy?
  • Will I be allowed to carry my pregnancy past 40 weeks if I want to?
  • Will you always ask my permission before performing cervical exams and membrane sweeps? And will I be allowed to say no?
  • How will I be able to contact you/your office with emergency questions during my pregnancy?
  • Do you allow for VBACs (if applicable) or vaginal breech deliveries?

Ask ALL the questions. Don’t be embarrassed! You don’t want to regret choosing a care provider just because your sister/mom/friend recommended them to you. I personally chose a hospital birth attended by a midwife team. My local hospital has a midwifery clinic as a part of the hospital, so I went there for all my prenatal appointments and ultrasounds, and delivered my baby on the hospital’s Labor & Delivery floor… I just had a midwife by my side instead of a doctor. I had a wonderful experience doing so, but you obviously have to make the best choice about a care provider for you and your family!

I HIGHLY recommend watching the 2008 documentary The Business of Being Born. It discusses the role of hospitals and modern medicine in childbirth.

Dealing with Early Pregnancy Anxiety (Trigger Warning: Pregnancy Loss)

Ultrasound at 6 weeks

Remember to give yourself plenty of grace. These first few weeks may be anxiety ridden as you are waiting for your first ultrasound and hoping for the confirmation of a heartbeat. You may be checking the toilet every time you go pee to make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary. If you’ve experienced loss before, then I’m sure this 6 week mark is really tough and scary. Every day that passes gets you closer and closer to the ultrasound where you hope to walk out with some cute B&W pics and a big smile on your face, but that’s just not always the reality. Loss is not your fault, and it can happen to anyone.

If you’re the kind of person who finds statistics helpful and/or comforting, you may want to check out this miscarriage probability chart. It tells you, based on the average, how likely you are to have a miscarriage at any given week and day of your pregnancy. With each progressing day, your likelihood of loss goes down. I found a lot of comfort during the early weeks of pregnancy to check this chart periodically and see the percentage continue to lessen. At the start of 6 weeks, your likelihood of miscarriage is 13.5%, and by the end of week 6 that number has already gone down to 9.4%. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool to see that!

Miscarriage Probability Chart

I also find it really important to focus on the good things to distract from the looming fear of something going wrong. Confide in your partner or a close friend if you are struggling mentally. Practice meditation or prayer. Go on walks outside. Drink plenty of water. Hang in there, mama. You’re doing great. The first trimester is so tough for so many reasons, but so are you!!


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**Please note, nothing in this article is medical advice; it is purely educational. Consult with your healthcare provider if you have questions.


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Meet Kristen van Gilse!


Kristen is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and holistic living enthusiast, with a passion for birth photography. Kristen's journey from illness to wellness led her to embrace toxin-free living. She shares her expertise through photography services and valuable tips for holistic living.

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