In Pursuit of Natural Birth: Midwife VS. OB/GYN?

by Kate on February 10, 2013

in Natural Birth, Natural Mom

If you’re like me and would like to have a natural birth, you may be considering opting out of a traditional hospital birth in favor of a midwife. I’ve done a lot of research over the last few months and have ultimately decided to do all my prenatal care and delivery with the UCLA Certified Nurse Midwives–basically these are Nurse Midwives who work in a hospital setting, so it’s sort of the best of both worlds.  I’ve only had my first prenatal appointment so far, but I’m really happy with my choice and would definitely recommend the happy medium of a midwife who works in a hospital setting to anyone who wants a natural birth but doesn’t want a home birth.

The UCLA nurse midwives work on a rotation so you may not see the same provider every time, and indeed when you go into labor you won’t know which midwife will be on the floor. BUT when you do go into labor, you can rest assured one of the midwives will already be at the hospital. The UCLA nurse midwives have only about a 10% c-section rate (much lower than most hospitals in LA which have overall 30-40% rates) and a 1% episiotomy rate. At my first appointment I had a good half hour conversation with one of the midwives about what the labor and delivery experience would/could be like. She answered all my concerns about how they minimize the interventions commonly used in hospitals:

  • Rather than an IV, since I won’t be having any pain medication, I’ll be able to have a heparin lock (a small tube they insert in your wrist to allow the nurses to quickly place an IV in case of an emergency). This is great because being hooked up to an IV restricts your movement.
  • If there is an emergency, there’s always an attending OB-GYN on the floor to perform an emergency c-section, or provide more advanced care. (This was important to me, after all, it’s why I’m still planning to give birth in a hospital.)
  • When the baby is born, they will let the cord finish pulsating before cutting it. There are differing philosophies about when the umbilical cord should be cut, and you can certainly find plenty of opinions out there, but I’m in favor of delaying cord clamping.
  • Minimal interventions–They only do 20 minutes of fetal monitoring when you first arrive, and minimal vaginal exams to prevent infection. They also advocate for fewer ultrasounds (Normally they only do 2 during the pregnancy–1 at 12 weeks, and one at 20.  I had an additional US at 8 weeks to date my pregnancy as it immediately followed a miscarriage.).

They still have to follow the hospital’s regulations over certain issues–like if your water has broken and you still haven’t delivered 24 hours later, they have to induce you to prevent infection. But all in all, I’m glad I’ve found the UCLA nurse midwives.

If you had a natural birth or attempted to have a natural birth, what was your experience like? Did you opt for a midwife or an OB-GYN?

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg Fee March 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Hey lady! So I’m trolling pinterest (no longer on Facebook) got the idea that maybe you were pregnant, hopped over her and lo and behold!! I’m so excited for you, I can’t even say. xo

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Kate March 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Oh my goodness! Meg!! I’m so happy to hear from you–I get your beautiful blog fed straight to my email so I feel like I haven’t totally lost touch but it sure is good to talk to you directly :)

I know–can you believe it?! I haven’t really made any official announcement yet, but I’m about 14 weeks along now. Anxious to find out boy or girl…

I would really love to see you–Andrew and I were actually debating New York as a Babymoon destination…Anyway hope you’re well! Miss you!

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