Choosing whether to have a midwife or an OB/GYN is a critical step in helping ensure one’s birth plan goes accordingly. In order to pave the way for a healthy pregnancy and birth, it is important to be able to differentiate between the two practitioners.
What is a Midwife?
A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a healthcare practitioner who is educated in nursing and midwifery. A CNM is responsible for helping women to maintain healthy pregnancies, and their services include prenatal care, care during labor and postpartum care. Midwives are also able to provide help with family planning and preconception care. CNMs are also able to order and interpret diagnostic tests, as well as prescribe medication and treatment, depending on the patient’s condition.
The focus of midwifery is on emotional support, on prevention and on health and wellness of the patient. Although CNMs are not opposed to pain medication, many of them prefer to use other pain management and relaxation techniques such as massages, deep breathing, the use of warm baths, visualization and changing the woman’s position during labor.
What is an OB/GYN?
The abbreviation OB/GYN stands for obstetrician/ gynecologist.
• Obstetrician. Obstetricians provide surgical care for pregnant women, and also deal with postnatal care.
• Gynecologist. This is a doctor who specializes in the medical care of all women and their reproductive system.
An OB/GYN is trained in both obstetrics and gynecology. Many of these doctors serve as primary care physicians. Part of many OB/GYNs’ jobs is to screen for particular diseases, and diagnose and treat health issues concerning the female reproductive system. This can include issues related to menopause, menstruation, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diseases of the uterus, breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The main concern of an obstetrician/gynecologist is to help women have healthy pregnancies and ultimately help to ensure that healthy babies are delivered.
One main difference between a midwife and an OB/GYN is that an OB/GYN is able to perform surgical procedures such as hysterectomies and C-sections.
For those who have healthy pregnancies, prenatal visits with a midwife and an OB/GYN are very likely to be the same. Appointments will be scheduled at roughly the same intervals, and both can order lab work and blood tests. Both practitioners should inform their patients of the benefits and risks of certain procedures.
Choosing a Midwife or OB/GYN
• Credentials. It is important to find out how long the practitioner has been in practice, and if their credentials are current. Do they come highly recommended and can they provide references?
• Birth Ethics. Does the practitioner encourage the use of pain medication? Do they use medical technology? Are they generally present when their patients are giving birth?
Ultimately, the decision on whether to use a midwife or an OB/GYN in Las Vegas is up to the patient. Some women choose practices that offer both services. It is more important to have a practitioner with whom the patient feels most comfortable.
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