Midwife (vs. other) care for childbearing women

Choosing a care provider for pregnancy and delivery is a highly individual and personal process, however I’d like to share this interesting study that may contribute to your decision-making process.

It’s a Cochrane review (essentially the highest level of evidence) looking at differences between and outcomes of midwife vs. other care for childbearing women and their infants.¬† It looked at a total of 13 trials, some 16,242 women.

It found that women who had midwife-led care where LESS likely to have…

  • Regional anaesthesia
  • Episiotomy
  • Instrumental deliveries
  • Analgesia¬†during labour/ birth
  • Preterm birth
  • Foetal loss before 24 weeks gestation

… and MORE likely to have:

  • Spontaneous vaginal delivery
  • Satisfaction with their care provider
  • An overall cost-saving effect of their care

The authors conclude that most women should be offered midwife-led continuity models of care and women should be encouraged to ask for this option although caution should be exercised in applying this advice to women with substantial medical or obstetric complications.

Bottom line:  midwife-led care has a multitude of benefits (as listed above) and is cheaper compared with (for example) obstetrician-led care HOWEVER if the pregnant mamma and/or her baby have significant medical/ obstetric problems, then maybe an alternate care provider (eg. obstetrician) may be indicated.

REFERENCE

Sandall J, Soltani H, Gates S, et al. Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 21;8:CD004667.

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