Should You Use a Midwife or an OB/GYN?

A conversation with a Seattle OB/GYN midwife

Seattle OB/GYN

Have you ever considered using a midwife for your prenatal and delivery care? In the past few years, we’ve seen many of our patients choose this alternative over using a traditional physician to deliver their baby. But what exactly is the difference between the two? We had the chance to speak with a midwife from one of our favorite clinics, Seattle OB/GYN, to learn more about the two options many women and families are choosing between.

Erica Wikan is a Certified Nurse Midwife, and works in the Midwifery group at Seattle OB/GYN. Erica was a pediatric ICU nurse before completing her Masters degrees in Nurse Midwifery and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is one of three Nurse Midwives who make up the midwifery team at Seattle OB/GYN. 

Midwives and OB/GYNs Working Together

A quick note on this clinic: it is divided into two groups – midwives and physicians. While many clinics may see this as a hard divide, at Seattle OB/GYN they work as a cohesive team and it is an opportunity for both the OB/GYNs, midwives and even the patients to learn from this collaboration. One of the biggest takeaways from our conversation with Erica was that the midwives and physicians are constantly working together. She described the doctors as the most “midwife-like” physicians she’s ever met. 

Erica explained her physician colleagues are highly dedicated to helping their patients stick to their birth plan, and encourage a vaginal delivery whenever possible. This fact is supported by their much lower than national average cesarean section rate. They were just rated in the TOP 3 NATIONALLY for lowest C-Section rate!

How Should a Patient Decide between a Midwife and an OB/GYN?

When newly pregnant and going to Seattle OB/GYN for pregnancy care, and your pregnancy is considered “low risk”, Erica suggests making your initial appointment with the midwifery team. Set for week 8, your appointment will be 40-60 minutes long and you’ll meet with one of the three midwives. At the appointment you’ll discuss things like your ideal birth plan, how much support you would like during your labor, and your past and current health history. If you are unsure about what type of birth you would like, they will talk through the different options with you. Based on this information, the midwife will be able to tell you if you’re a good candidate for the midwifery group, or if you would benefit from a physicians care. 

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