Comparing Models of Care

Midwives are the primary health care providers for childbearing women around the world and give levels of care similar to obstetricians and family physicians. In midwife-led care, the midwife is responsible for planning and providing care starting with the initial visit and continuing to six weeks postpartum. The midwifery model of care addresses the woman’s physical, psychological, and social well-being, guiding her with individualized education, counselling, and choice. Midwives are skilled at identifying women who require obstetrical attention, but minimize the overuse of technological interventions when such interventions are not necessary for the mother’s or baby’s well-being.

The following comparison of midwifery and medical models has been adapted from a Cochrane literature review.

1) The underpinning philosophy of midwifery care is five-fold:

  • childbearing is a normal life event
  • women possess natural ability to give birth with minimum intervention
  • informed choice
  • continuity of care
  • care in labour from a known and trusted midwife

2) Benefits of midwifery for mothers and babies:

  • less use of pharmaceutical pain relief during childbirth
  • fewer episiotomies
  • fewer instrumental births
  • increased likelihood of care from a known and trusted midwife
  • increased likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth
  • enhanced feelings of being in control during labour
  • more success in breastfeeding
  • valuable asset to a woman-centred team approach, even if complications arise

3) Physician-led models differ from midwife-led models, namely:

  • by focusing on discovering and treating complications
  • by applying technology and interventions as routine for most women
  • by using interventions even when they are not necessary in the particular case
  • physician-led care is usually emphasizes standardization, with individualized care and informed choice often less valued

JoySpring holds firmly to principles of autonomous patient choice and we hope you will investigate and compare the maternity models available to you. Once you explore and understand your options, you will be much more prepared to choose the right pathway for you and your baby.