Often clients ask me to provide with facts and opinions about the difference between midwifery care and the standard prenatal care provided by a (good) OBGYN.
As a birth photographer and Doula, I often witness how extremely different the two types of care are.
First of all, the type of education is different: the amount of years, the training, the practice…above all, there is a radical difference in the mentality that stands behind two very diverse ideas about how should pregnant women be supported before, during and after birth.
I wonder how many vaginal births does a student OB get to see during her training; how many cases of undisturbed, unassisted natural birth does she learn about.
You see, to me it’s all about learning that birth is a natural physiological process in the first place and that all the interventions that happen at the hospital are often not necessary; but are still carried forward because of the setting a mother is giving birth, rather than the necessity of having them per se.
I am not saying I am not grateful that hospital and trained medical staff are available for a laboring mom and baby who may need help, whether it is a medicine to induce rest or a major abdominal surgery to support a baby out within minutes.
I just see that midwives at work are often invested and grounded in trusting in the mother and a baby naturally processing birth, rather than assuming first hands that they are going to need external help.
There is a natural wisdom that is part of the curriculum of being a midwife that is some culture the same name is translated as ‘wise woman’.
A midwife sees the mother and baby as a unison being working together to go through a process that is meant to be (often) long, intimate, and undisturbed; and that may require for this reason, simply the presence of support and not necessarily the need of action and intervention.
Below an image from a recent birth I attended in Los Angeles as birth photographer. Notice how mom is not strapped to any machine, rather she looks comfortable ( in between contractions) and perhaps even dozing off. The lights are dimmed, she is at home, in her intimate, familiar, safe environment; she is surrounded by the comfort of her partner and loved on by her midwife.
She can use her bathroom, she can eat her food, she can listen to her music of choice and lay in her own bed. There is no distraction that takes her attention away from birthing her baby, there is no opportunity for her to be scared away by unfamiliar noises and strangers faces. If you were to complete your most powerful creation and found yourself all of a sudden in a completely new and strange environment, surrounded by many unfamiliar witnesses eager to touch you and watch you, how easily and comfortably would you complete your task?
How would it make you feel?