Choosing a Doctor or Midwife

Pregnant mothers want the reassurance of having chosen the right person to manage their pregnancy care. However, mothers can often be confused whether they should be seeing a doctor or midwife. Both doctors and midwives have equal footing in terms of providing excellent pregnancy care, but many women prefer to see midwives as they feel they are more specialised in the area.


The term midwife itself reflects a specialised area of pregnancy in which expert knowledge of the ins and outs of pregnancy is guaranteed. Doctors also have expert knowledge when it comes to pregnancy; however, many pregnant women are more comfortable discussing their pregnancy with another female. This is mainly due to the fact that midwives have first-hand experience in handling pregnancy care and understand common pregnancy anxieties.

Midwives follow a model of care in which pregnancy and birth are seen as normal life processes. The midwife model of care system aims to establish the psychological, physical and social wellbeing of the pregnant mother, amongst many other aspects. The model also outlines the need for the pregnant mother to be informed and educated on aspects of pregnancy and birth. The midwife will therefore provide necessary information regarding pregnancy, in which the mother will be able to learn the best way to care for themselves and their unborn baby.

What is the role of a midwife?

Midwives are healthcare professionals who aim to provide pregnancy care to women during pregnancy and during birth. At the beginning, a midwife may take your medical history and explain in detail the limitations and risks associated with your pregnancy. Midwives carry out examinations, such as checking urine for protein as well as heartbeat checks for your developing baby.

Midwifes will write to the hospital and let them know your blood test and other pregnancy test results, and check your overall psychological wellbeing during pregnancy. Midwives provide specialist care during labour and birth, as part of the midwife team and help you through birth to deliver. Midwives are a preferred option by many women due to their level of expertise about pregnancy, labour and birth.

Types of Midwives

There are different types of midwives, ranging from midwives who you see in a doctor’s surgery for antenatal care and midwifery teams at the hospital when your baby is delivered. Midwives can work in different locations, such as a doctor’s surgery, hospitals, community antenatal classes and labour classes. The midwife who deals with your pregnancy care will be involved in testing and taking your medical history but may not necessarily be present at the birth. A team of midwives based at the hospital of your choice will likely be present and they can assist you in delivery. In some cases, you can request to have the midwife you saw from the beginning assist you during birth if you feel apprehensive or anxious.

Benefits of having a midwife

There are many benefits in having a midwife assist with your pregnancy and labour, as discussed below:

  • Midwives promote natural births. When labour begins you will likely feel weak but the midwives will encourage you and assist in delivering your baby naturally
  • Midwives are specialised in all areas of pregnancy and can give you expert information and advice
  • Many pregnant women feel more comfortable talking to a midwife rather than a doctor during pregnancy
  • Midwives can assist you with home births and aid in delivering your baby safely
  • Midwives give you thorough checks and provide you with information on the wellbeing of your baby in terms of baby size and growth

Some women feel that they need someone to talk to during their pregnancy and they often feel that they can open up to their midwife and tell them about their anxieties. Many midwives work in personalised surroundings and can discuss matters of concern with you in detail.


Doctors can provide you with the necessary information you need. What’s more there may be specialised doctors such as paediatrics who can give expert advice when it comes to pregnancy. Doctors are medical professionals with expert knowledge related to health and the body. They therefore may be able to provide you with more comprehensive medical solutions to problems in pregnancy. Doctors can provide you with a thorough analysis of your pregnancy every step of the way. Some midwives refer pregnant women to doctors in certain medical aspects of the pregnancy which they cannot advise the woman on. If you choose to see a doctor you can have your pregnancy problems solved there and then without having to go back and forth.

What is the role of Doctor during pregnancy?

As soon as you find out that you are pregnant you should visit the doctor and let them know. The doctor will then refer you to a midwife or alternatively ask you to come back after one month for a booking visit. The doctor is responsible for arranging your hospital care and registering your pregnancy with the hospital by writing or faxing a letter of confirmation which will include your expected due date (EDD). The doctor will then either pass on your pregnancy care to a midwife or alternatively you could continue to have your pregnancy care with your doctor.

In cases when a woman suspects she is pregnant, she may be required to take a blood or urine test which the doctor will arrange. If a positive result is found then the doctor will diagnose the pregnancy and arrange further assistance for pregnancy care. You should seek a doctor’s assistance as soon as you find out that you are pregnant in order to take the necessary folic acid supplements and any further precautions.

Types of Doctors

There are various types of doctors who specialise in different areas of medicine that you can see during your pregnancy, as described below:

  • Obstetrician – This doctor specialises in pregnancy, birth and gynaecology. They will normally be found in a hospital environment. An obstetrician may be seen if you have matters related to your medical history such as sickle cell disease.
  • Family Practitioner – This type of doctor is specialised in the areas of pregnancy, birth and family care. They usually work together with the obstetrician to provide pregnancy care. You may find a family practitioner in a hospital or birthing centre.
  • Perinatologist – This type of doctor specialises in high risk pregnancies and multiple births. They are mainly found working in hospitals.
  • Paediatrician – This type of doctor specialises in the care of babies and children, and will be more prominent in handling care after birth.

The type of doctor you see depends on the individual circumstances of your pregnancy. If you are having a high risk pregnancy you may be referred to a specialised doctor to handle part of your pregnancy care. You may also be required to visit the doctor in hospital in order to have a check-up.

Where can I find a doctor?

You can find a doctor to handle your pregnancy in most hospital settings and doctor’s surgeries. Private medical practices have their own set fees for specialised doctors when it comes to pregnancy care.

Benefits of having a doctor

There are many benefits in having a doctor handle your pregnancy, as discussed below:

  • Doctors have specialised knowledge of medicine and the way your body works, and can provide medication and solutions for pregnancy
  • Doctors can identify potential problems early to limit risk during pregnancy
  • Specialised doctors can provide comprehensive information and assist in answering all your queries about pregnancy
  • Doctors can issue your test results and perform blood tests there and then
  • You do not need to arrange further appointments if you are seeing a doctor. They can handle medical tests and procedures unlike a midwife.

Whether you choose a doctor or a midwife to handle your pregnancy care, you can be rest assured that you will be in expert hands. Making the choice is really down to your individual requirements and what you want out of your pregnancy care.

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