This is not meant to bring about debating or arguing. I am just writing this to state the facts so people can make an informed decision. Also, I think a lot of people have misconceptions about what a midwife does. I personally use a midwife, but I have no problem seeing a doctor. I will be referring to certified nurse midwives not direct entry midwives.
OB/GYN doctors attend medical school and also have specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology.
Certified Nurse Midwives are registered nurses with Master’s degree in nurse midwifery.
Where they deliver babies
OB’s deliver only in hospital settings with a medical approach.
Midwives also deliver in hospitals but can deliver in birthing centers or in your home. (However, a majority of midwives deliver in hospitals. Everyone has a misconception that midwives come to your house to deliver babies, but in reality 75% of them only deliver in hospitals).
Both doctors and midwives will order any blood tests, genetic tests, ultrasounds etc during your pregnancy.
High Risk Pregnancy
If you are considered having a high risk pregnancy (pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, etc) you will likely only have the option of an OB. Midwives typically only handle low-risk pregnancies.
Both doctors and midwives can order any pain medication during birth. There is a misconception that midwives will not allow epidurals and this is simply not true. Midwives are big on making sure that the mother is making the decision she is comfortable with. Also, both of them can order pitocin to induce or speed up labor.
Midwives do not perform c-sections. If a c-section is necessary they will have to call in a doctor. Midwives have a much lower rate of their patients needing a c-section, episiotomies or forceps. I think this is because they typically have less patients. They are with you throughout the entire birthing process and seem to have a bit more patience for mothers in labor.
In short, there is not a whole lot of difference between an OB or a midwife. A doctor will have a more medical approach and will look at pregnancy and delivery as a medical procedure which is great if you have complications or just want a straight forward approach. Midwives tend to look at the whole process woman and baby. They spend a bit more time making sure that you are ok physically and emotionally throughout pregnancy and labor and delivery. It is a bit more a personalized approach. You usually only see one midwife your whole pregnancy and you get to know him/her VERY well. With an OB you will likely rotate between all of the doctors in the practice. Both are great options and the most important thing to remember is that you should choose what is best for you!