Why Midwives Are Fast Becoming More Popular Than OBGYNs

Why more women are chosing midwives: Delaware Valley OBGYN blog

and Natalie Daher in her recent article on the Daily Beast asks why. 

Midwifery has been around for a long time, but the time for midwives to move to the forefront may have come.

Today, midwives are oftentimes sought out by highly educated, well-to-do women who seek out a more natural patient-centered experience, but that was not always the case.

Before the advent of modern obstetrics, the midwife played a central role in a woman's childbirth and reproductive experience. This was not just in mid-20th century Britain as popularized in the series "Call the Midwife," but throughout  much of human history. Given the current problems in our health care system, it may be that midwives may be able to make an even greater impact that they do now. 

There are a number of gaps in the women's healthcare in US that midwives may be able to fill:

Accessibility to pregnancy care

There is a shortage of obstetricians, particularly in underserved areas, to some extent in the inner cities and an even larger problem in rural areas. Midwives can help make up for that shortage.

Reduced Costs

Midwives provide care at less cost than OBs, with fewer invasive procedures such as cesarian sections.

Excellent Quality Care

Despite, lowering the cost and invasiveness of pregnancy-related healthcare, studies in multiple countries have shown that midwifery care leads to excellent pregnancy outcomes.

Patients Satisfaction

Women who chose midwives to deliver their child are usually very happy with their experience. Why? It could be because midwives treat childbirth as a natural experience, a family event, not a disease.


Want to learn more about midwifery care for your next pregnancy? Set up an appointment with one of our certified nurse midwives.

Essential facts about midwives

Essential facts about midwives: Delaware Valley OBGYN blog

Certified nurse midwives provide care for pregnancy and well woman care beyond pregnancy. Here are a few interesting facts about midwifery in the US from the American College of Nurse Midwives.

There are thousands of midwives in the US delivering hundreds of thousands of babies a year.

  • There were 11,194 CNMs (certified nurse midwives) and 97 CM (certified midwives without a nursing degree) in the country as of May 2014.
  • There were In 2014,  332,107 midwife-attended births in the US, slightly more than in  2013. The vast majority ( > 90%) were attended by CNMs.
  • Midwives account for 12.1% of all vaginal births, and 8.3% of total US births.

Midwives also provide womens health care outside of pregnancy

  • CNMs are independent health care practitioners who are licensed and able to write prescriptions in all 50 states, including  DC, Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Federal law considers CNMs to be primary care providers
  • Over half of midwives considered reproductive health care to be their primary responsibility and a third consider primary care as their main role.

Most midwives work in a hospital setting in collaboration with obstetricians

  • Over 94% of midwife attended births occur in hospital settings
  • Over half of midwives are employed by physician groups or hospitals

Midwifery care is usually covered by health insurance 

  • Medicaid programs as well as most states are required to cover deliveries attended by midwives 

Midwives hold graduate degrees and are required to go through an accreditation process

  • There are 39 training programs for nurse midwives in the US and they receive their accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
  • 82% of CNMs hold a master’s degree; a graduate degree has been an entry requirement into midwifery since 2010.
  • Almost 5% of CNMs hold doctoral degrees, the highest proportion of all groups of advanced practice nurses.