A midwife cares for childbearing women, before and after birth
The midwife is the professional who practices the obstetrics as a health science.
The term is used in reference to both women and men, although most midwives are female.
Many developing countries are investing money and training so that midwives and other community health workers can provide primary care services, that are currently lacking.
They are educated and trained to recognize the variations of normal progress of labor and deal with deviations from normal to discern and intervene in high risk situations.
In many developing nations, midwifery is the front-line of maternal health services and provides necessary care in a safe and cost effective manner, where it is available.
Obstetricians are medical doctors and can provide surgery and instrumental deliveries in situations which require them.
While an obstetrician may be necessary to provide successful delivery and care for women with health challenges and complicated pregnancies, well trained midwives can reduce the demand on the more highly trained obstetricians.
There is also evidence that midwife-led care leads to increased positive outcomes when compared to other models (e.g. Obstetrician-led, Family doctor-led, and shared models of care), although there is no difference in child loss after 24 weeks
Midwives refer women to specialists such as obstetricians or perinatologists in complications related to pregnancy and birth when a pregnant woman requires care beyond the midwives’ scope of practice. In many parts of the world, these professions work in tandem to provide care to childbearing women.
In others, only the midwife is available to provide care.
For normal births, midwives offer care with lower intervention rates, have lower mortality and morbidity as a result of fewer interventions, and fewer recovery complications
Photo courtesy of our amazing author and Doula, Cheryl Sheffield. http://www.idealbirth.com.au