ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Health Care Provider Options for Childbirth: Obstetricians, Family Practitioners, and Midwives

Updated on August 6, 2008

Expectant mothers today have more choices than ever when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth health care. This article looks at the basic philosophies and options available.

Midwifery Model of Care vs. Medical Model of Care

While there are some striking differences in these two perspectives on childbirth, it's important to remember that each caregiver is an individual and you are likely to find a lot of variation. Take a look at the highlights, realizing that this is quite a generalized view.

Medical Model

Focus on managing problems and complications

Labor/birth viewed as dependent on technology

Higher rates of using interventions

Doctor delivers baby

Care is systemized

Midwifery Model

Focus on health, wellness, prevention

Labor/birth viewed as normal physiological processes

Lower rates of using interventions

Mother gives birth

Care is individualized

Pregnancy and Childbirth Health Care Providers

Obstetrician (MD) -

Patient Interaction: Prenatal visits are quick, some less than 10 minutes. Generally stick to the topics that match the current stage of pregnancy. During labor, an OB consults with your nurse by phone or may come to the hospital to check on your labor progress. Obstetricians typically arrive at the hospital at the end of labor, shortly before delivery, and stay through the delivery of the placenta and early recovery. They are surgical specialists who treat the pathologies of pregnancy and childbirth. If mother or baby has health problems during pregnancy or childbirth that compromise health or life, then an OB or a perinatologist (an OB with specialized training to handle very sick mothers and very complicated pregnancies) is necessary.

Family Practice Physician (MD) -

Patient interaction: Prenatal visits may be similar to an OB visit. During labor, a family practice doctor may arrive during the active part of labor and stay through early recovery. Typically, they are present for more of the labor than an OB would be. They care primarily for women with low risk pregnancies and refer to obstetricians if complications arise.

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) -

Patient interaction: First prenatal visit typically an hour. Follow-up visits about 20 - 30 minutes. Mother and partner are encouraged to discuss any questions, fears, concerns of any part of pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum. Patient education is a key component of midwifery care. In labor, typically begin attending in early to active labor when mom arrives at the hospital, and remain with her through birth and the initial recovery stages.

Licensed Midwives (LM)/Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) -

Patient interaction: Prenatal visits are typically 20 - 60 minutes. In labor, the midwife stays with mom throughout her active labor, through birth, and up to four hours after the birth.

Information in this article provided in part by childbirth educator and professional doula, Kim Palena James. You can find out more about childbirth and pregnancy from Kim's perspective in the following articles:

Best Pregnancy Books

Create a Better Birthplan: How to Write One and What it Can and Cannot Do For You

For more information, browse the articles in the Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth


Submit a Comment

  • angela_michelle profile image

    Angela Michelle Schultz 

    8 years ago from United States

    This is a really good hub, I linked to it from my prenatal hub! I also rated it up and marked it useful!

  • profile image

    Marye Audet 

    11 years ago

    Nice job. I used a ob for 2 of mine and the rest were midwife assisted home births. Guess which I liked better.. ;)

    Also the midwives are usually (altho not always) more knowlegeable about herbal helps and natural remedies for things and also the nutritional aspects.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)