Comparing OB/GYN to Midwifery care (Side-by-Side): What Would Each Care Be Like For You?


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(with Susan Wente, Certified Nurse Midwife of 35 years)  “Should I use a doctor or midwife? What are the differences between the doctor & midwife style of maternity care? Can you compare maternity care (step-by-step) between a doctor & a midwife, so I can see *exactly* what the differences would look like for each style of care?” …

Yes … of course we can!

Is there really a difference in how doctors & midwives approach prenatal care, labor & childbirth? Yes, the whole “model of care” is different. If you choose a doctor over a midwife (or a midwife over a doctor), could that increase the chance of you having the healthier birth that you’re wanting? Yes & it most likely will friends! 

Midwives & OB’s practice very differently. One isn’t wrong & one right, they’re just very different. Which one fits you better & increases the chances of you having the safe birth you want? Watch this class & you’ll find out.

Susan Wente is a certified nurse midwife who has two practices: a hospital practice (where she teams up with doctors) & her own homebirth midwifery practice. She knows different women want different styles of care. She knows there’s no one “right way” to have a baby. Susan paints you an unbiased picture comparing OB/GYN to Midwife care (from pre-natal visits all the way through to birth), so you can decide what you want & what is best for you.

You’ll Also Learn:

  1. Why many midwives consider pregnancy & birth a holistic experience & how that factors into their care. (holistic means care emphasizing the ‘whole picture’- medical, physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual & lifestyle as compared to staying focused on the medical part.) 
  2. What exactly happens during your first prenatal visit with your OB or Midwife, what a pelvic exam is & why it’s important. You’ll also learn what to expect during your other doctor or midwife visits.
  3. What your care looks like once you’re laboring in the hospital, who manages your labor & why that’s a potential game-changer.

Who is Susan Wente?

Susan Wente is a certified nurse midwife (CNM) and has been for the last 35 years. She’s delivered well over 2,500 babies & also has two kids of her own! Susan currently has a hospital practice (in conjunction with several OB’s) as well as her own homebirth midwifery practice, Home Birth Partners.  She lives in Newaygo, Michigan.

Watch the Class (download the MP3)


What do you think? Share it below…


Susan Wente Midwife Ob care dfferences

Sarah Blight:               Hi. This is Sarah Blight with Your Baby Booty Interviews where we chat with real people who have real experiences so that you can grab those takeaways and apply them to your journey as you become a mom. So which model of care is best for you? Are you more of a midwife-type person or are you going to tend to go for a more of an OB or maybe even family practice doctor to take care for you and to look after your care as you’re pregnant and you have your kids? Well, today we’re chatting with Susan Wente. She’s a Certified Nurse Midwife who stopped counting how many birth at about 2500 babies that she’s delivered. She’s been an nurse midwife for 35 years and she has two kids of her own and the unique thing I think about Susan is that she has a home birth practice where she has clients and mamas that she delivers at home but she also works in a hospital as well with OBs and works together with doctors as well. So we are so happy, Susan that you’re joining us today.

Susan Wente:              Thank you, that’s a good introduction. [Laughter] Yes, I really love what I do.

Sarah Blight:               And you must if you’ve been doing it for 35 years and you’re planning on retiring I believe, right, and you just couldn’t — you just couldn’t stop, right? [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              Yeah, I tried. It’s a bad habit. [Laughter] I did try to stop but I couldn’t try different things and at this point, I don’t ever see myself retiring completely. I’m sure I’ll change what I do and I’m lucky that I came to an area which is my original home eight years ago and no one was interested in working with nurse midwives. And so now, I have a hospital practice as well as a home birth practice, both separate but I love them both.

Sarah Blight:               That’s really cool and I think that’s very unique and you’ve bring a really cool perspective to our topic today especially because we’re kind of comparing the OB, you know, practice to the midwife practice in terms of what — what is different about the care when you’re, you know, prenatal and then in child birth then I think I’m excited to kind of delve in with you today and chat about what you think. So walk us through, Susan, chronologically what a mom might has experience, let’s start with pregnancy if she’s with an OB as far as what that typically would look like and we’re talking in generalizations today. Obviously, every OB and family practice doctor is different and we know that. But generally speaking, what will a woman experience during her routine prenatal checkups while she’s pregnant with an OB?

Susan Wente:              Okay, they are very different. It was not just the OB but a family practice work its way and so do many certified nurse midwives and do hospital practices as far as the structure but each is different within that model. The OB/GYN practice, usually a woman calls in and is told that appointment can be made between 8 and 12 weeks of her pregnancy. She’s labeled a patient throughout. Usually midwives call women, clients or my families. She is given an appointment between 8 and 12 weeks as I said originally. But her first appointment is usually with a nurse who does the OB intake and at that time she’s asked a multitude of questions that go on and on and on. And these include things about her medical health including things like a history of diabetes, hypertension. They also want to know about her obstetrical histories, how many miscarriages she might have had, any abortions, vaginal deliveries, how do they go, C-sections, any pelvic surgeries. They also ask about family history, any genetic disorders. They had visit with the nurse usually takes about an hour. At that time, the patient is also given a lot of information, sometimes too much information. They give them a big pack that nobody reads. [Laughter]

Sarah Blight:               Right. [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              And then they send them off to do all their OB labs and there’s a standard OB lab panel that you order on everybody. You had additional things for instance if they have a history of gestational diabetes or the family wants to check for a cystic fibrosis.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              Then they come back between 8 and 12 weeks up of pregnancy and at that time, they usually meet with one of the OB providers in the office. Usually and hopefully, it’s the person that’s going to deliver their baby. In large practices, it’s — that’s, you know, a crapshoot to be quite honest. At that time, they’re given a complete — their histories reviewed and then they’re given a complete physical which should include the heart, the lungs, the thyroid, the abdomen, do a pelvic. They offer to do a pap and a Gen-Probe which includes Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. And they evaluate the extremities and once that is over, then usually, a first trimester pelvic ultrasound is offered.

Sarah Blight:               Okay. Can we stop for a second? What is a pelvic exam consists of? Is that would know all up in your — in your –



Susan Wente:              I wish we didn’t have to do it. [Laughter]

Sarah Blight:               So what are you — what are you looking for when — when you’re doing a pelvic exam?

Susan Wente:              I’m looking for a lot of things. When we’re looking for a pelvic exam before I start to do it I always ask if women itch or burn or does it hurt to have sex because none of those of things should be happening and that will kind of delve to in how I want to do the exam. When the woman’s legs are up and strips, the most important thing is to get her to relax as much as possible and make her feel secure as much as possible and that’s kind of hard. What plays in that too is does she have a history of abuse? And that’s a huge, huge factor in how we do pelvic exams. I check the external labia and the whole perineal area. Most women don’t know if they’re normal per say.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

Susan Wente:              Because we are made differently than men. Men go in to locker rooms and they can say, “Oh yeah, I’m normal or I’m not.” So part of my exam is just to go through everything and just say to the woman, “You know, this is normal. You have a normal female genitalia. Your bottom looks just great.” [Laughter] Sounds kind of strange but you need to hear that to feel positive.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, okay and then –

Susan Wente:              Any moles or anything we talk about that or any source, we talk about that or do cultures at that time. Yes?

Sarah Blight:               Okay. So and then also are you — is there a chance that you could miscarry after having a pelvic exam?

Susan Wente:              No. A pelvic exam does not cause a miscarriage. Some women think it might. When –

Sarah Blight:               Okay. Are you reaching up in the woman’s vagina?

Susan Wente:              Yes, eventually.

Sarah Blight:               Okay. Okay, eventually.

Susan Wente:              But right now, on the perineum. [Laughter]

Sarah Blight:               Okay, okay.

Susan Wente:              So I go in and inside there are some glands I check to make sure those aren’t swallowing or if there’s any cyst. And then I put the speculum in and I would choose the right speculum for the right situation because they come in different sizes.

Sarah Blight:               And the speculum is the tool that you use. Is that the same tool that you would have during a pap smear?

Susan Wente:              Correct. And lot of women call duckbill. If they never had an exam before I usually let them hold the speculum always so that kind of gives them more feeling of control. And then we use we go very slowly. Reminding them that they can tell me to stop anytime and when I go and I look at the walls, the color, the discharge and finally at the end of the cervical canal is the cervix which is what opens up when a woman has her baby to 10 centimeters. And at that time I usually offer for a woman to look at, “Do you want to look at your cervix,” “Have you ever seen cervix or touched it?” And I’d say about 20% of all women want to look at their cervix.

Sarah Blight:               Interesting.

Susan Wente:              And then from there, I get from the opening of the cervix which we call the Os, I get a pap smear as well as the culture for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in the hospital situation.

Sarah Blight:               Okay, so this is in the hospital practice and those OBs will do this during the first visit you’ve said?

Susan Wente:              Yes, with their first visit with them.

Sarah Blight:               With the first visit with their — the patient.

Susan Wente:              Usually, they don’t give them a choice. Most of the OBs just say, “Well, we’re going to do this,” and they do it. And they don’t usually used to offer mirrors or anything like that. And so it varies, you know, from each practice to practice.

Sarah Blight:               Okay. And you did say that that does not cause a risk of miscarriage.

Susan Wente:              No.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              And then — and sometimes you can see the cervix when you touch it, it bleeds. And some women have spotting when they’re first pregnant. And sorry, I’m just getting my phone to turn it off.  

Sarah Blight:               Oh, that’s okay.

Susan Wente:              Sorry. And so I want to make sure that there is no cervicitis or inflammation to cervix as well.

Sarah Blight:               Okay, perfect.

Susan Wente:              In from then, I can also get a smear and look and see if they have any vaginal infections if it’s indicated. Then we take out the speculum. And a speculum exam should never hurt. It’s uncomfortable but it shouldn’t hurt when taken out. And then we do the bimanual exam and that’s where I take two fingers. I have a glove on and some lubrication and I put them inside the vagina and then I palpate the abdomen and put my fingers inside and I can feel the size and shape of the uterus. I can also feel for any masses or tenderness. And we can pick up quite a bit of information that way.

Sarah Blight:               Can you tell how far along a woman might be just by the size and shape, I mean generally speaking?

Susan Wente:              Oh, yes, experience, you know. The size of a great fruit they are usually around 12 weeks, you know. Just a little bit large, a little bit softness. “You’ll be might be 6 or 8 weeks.” If they’re 12 weeks by dates but I get a much bigger uterus, I wonder about twins or multiple gestations.

 Sarah Blight:              Okay.

Susan Wente:              And that’s basically what a pelvic exam includes.

Sarah Blight:               Okay, so back to the original question which was what else happens kind of during the first OB exam, is there anything else besides kind of the mandatory it seems like a pelvic exam that an OB does?


Susan Wente:              For the physicians, an exam is usually mandatory. For a nurse midwife, lots of times a woman will come and say, “I’m not ready to do it today. I’m not emotionally there,” or they have some other reason and so we can delay it. I’ve even had a few women who totally declined a pelvic exam and that’s their right and their choice. The other additional thing we do is the — the first trimester pelvic ultrasound.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              I do those in the office as well as the OB/GYNs. A lot of nurse midwives just send the women to the Ultrasound Department in a hospital to have it done as well.

Sarah Blight:               And what is a pelvic ultrasound? How is that different from the other ultrasounds that we might do some –

Susan Wente:              The abdominal one?

Sarah Blight:               Yeah.

Susan Wente:              That is an exam that is done with a large wand.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              It’s — and you put inside the vagina and it feels very strange and but it shouldn’t hurt either and you rotate that wand around according to one of the uterus till its forwards or backwards and you can — you can find early gestational sacs. 7 to 8 weeks you see it something looks kind of like a baby but not a lot. You might see the yolk sac. You can see the fluid around the baby. Around 12 weeks, you can actually see more of a baby. It looks more like a baby and move it around and you can’t tell a sacs that early. But that gives us a really good dating.

Sarah Blight:               Oh, okay.

Susan Wente:              And that’s so critical if you’re going to have a hospital birth because once you have a hospital birth, your due date is very important and certain things are done to you if you are how many — going to go in to labor too early or you’re going to labor past 41 or 42 weeks.

Sarah Blight:               Okay, so date is very important. And is that the main reason they do the pelvic ultrasound?

Susan Wente:              That is the main reason. I sometimes do it because women — I have women that have had several miscarriages and for them, this is an emotional rollercoaster to be pregnant again. It takes great courage and anything I can do to reinforce anything positive, I try to do it. And sometimes I’ll say “Would you like just to have a peek? It’s not be official but we’ll just see your baby moving around,” and that is so important for the woman.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, I could definitely understand why that would be.

Susan Wente:              Right.

Sarah Blight:               What else typically happens at OB appointments? Will the woman see the OB every single appointment that she goes to?

Susan Wente:              It depends on the practice.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              At our practice, each of us has our own case load but we have made a commitment to our families that they will meet each of us at least once.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              And at that time, they get to meet everybody, just one time for a visit. We talked about doing a group visit where they just come in and then meet all of us but we feel that we can get more of a hands-on or more one on one is better for them to figure out who we are so they’re comfortable. Sometimes especially, you know, if they call in the middle of the night and they have a question and they’ve never met me, it’s hard to have much faith in somebody you’ve never met.

Sarah Blight:               Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Is there anything else during pregnancy that OBs would do that would differ from midwife?

Susan Wente:              I think that probably most of the OBs I know don’t like — the ones I work with aren’t this way but most OBs don’t like families in the room especially children. I can — when I think of the difference is I think of more what midwives do in addition to what OBs do and –

Sarah Blight:               And tell us what that is. [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              Okay, I will. That’s easier.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              Nutrition is very important, you know. I usually begin every visit with “What did you eat this morning,” “What did you eat last night,” “Are you drinking pop?” [Laughter] Yeah, a lot people I’m just amazed don’t have any idea that, you know, that a high glycemic diet makes for big babies and nobody wants a big baby , of course what’s big is a very subjective thing.

Sarah Blight:               True.

Susan Wente:              So I go over there and depending upon their needs. If they’re thin, I treat them one way. If they’re a gestational diabetic, we go down on a different avenue. A good diet is important. Most women don’t want to gain a lot of weight but a lot of our women do and then they have to take it off afterwards and that’s a real, real issue for them.

Sarah Blight:               And so the first visit for a midwife, I’m guessing does a nurse still do the intake or the initial appointment or does a midwife usually?

Susan Wente:              Well in my home birth practice I do all the intakes and but in the hospital practice, the nurse still does the intake.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              But I have a lot of input in to how that’s done and I always review it to make sure that nothing is missing. I focus on certain areas like I go back and talk about their birth experiences.


The nurse might ask, you know, “Did you have a C-section,” “Did you have any tears,” “What sort of pain medicine did you have?” I’ll ask things in addition to that like, you know, “How did you feel about your birth experience?” “Was it a positive birth experience,” “What are your hopes for this time,” “Is there anything you would do different?” Those — the series of questions like that. I might talk about things like “Have you considered doing without an epidural?” [Laughter] And then I also focus on history of abuse. I see a lot of abuse especially in my women that deliver in the hospital. I would say 25% to a third of all women I see had been abused at one time in their life.

Sarah Blight:               Wow. And are you talking like physical abuse, emotional abuse or just all of it?

Susan Wente:              All of it. I see it mainly sexual abuse as a child and I think because those women have been abused in one form or another, they don’t have the self-esteem to do a home birth and that sometimes why they might choose a hospital birth. They want to feel — they don’t feel they have enough confidence to do a hospital birth, I mean home birth, because people question you about that. 

Sarah Blight:               Right. So what — how else do you adjust your care prenatally and then we’ll talk too about — and child birth with your patient’s who at the hospital who had been abused?

Susan Wente:              Well when I — when the women come in, I always encourage them to bring their partners and I certainly encourage them to bring their children. I think children accept birth and the new addition to the family much better if they’re part of the process. Sometimes I have the baby — the children help me measure the mommy’s tummy. Sometimes they use the Doppler to hear their heart to show that they have a heart like the baby in the stomach and I always encourage the partner to ask some questions. I encourage every woman to write down their questions because being pregnant, women tend to be very forgetful. [Laughter]

Sarah Blight:               What did you say? [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              They’re forgetful. They can’t help it. They just forget things and I know they leave the office and they go, “But I don’t want to bother her. I’m not going to call her back.” So I encourage them to write questions down. And also, if the children are older I had them bring me a list of question.

Sarah Blight:               Oh good.

Susan Wente:              And we also encourage, I encourage women to consider having their children at their hospital birth and you know –

Sarah Blight:               So why do you — why do you encourage people to have their kids at their birth — at their hospital birth?

Susan Wente:              Oh, I think it’s wonderful. If the children are two years or older, they usually do so well in a hospital birth if you explain to them, you know, what’s going to happen. Most children do better than some adults do better in birth. They are very open and positive and you can — you do education before with them but you know, mommy, you know, might be acting like she’s in a little bit of discomfort or pain and you talk about what’s going to go on. You might even — we have special movies for children and there’s books you can read to them about being at a birth. But they feel more inclusive in it and they see it as a positive thing and I see it as when they go to a birth and they see their mother doing well, how — especially those girls, how would they look at birth when they’re ready to have their babies. And I think it’s a very powerful statement that birth is normal. It’s not a scary thing. And I have children draw me pictures of their — in fact, if you’re in my office, sometimes you’ll notice on my desk there’s a picture of a lady with her pregnancy. I asked — the little girl that asked me to draw a picture of the birth and she do a picture of her mommy with — with a baby in the tummy and me by her side.

Sarah Blight:               Oh, that’s so cute.

Susan Wente:              Children draw wonderful pictures after birth.

Sarah Blight:               So and it seemed — does that helped them to kind of adjust to that’s new little person in their family?

Susan Wente:              Absolutely and they don’t — I don’t think there is jealous. And at our hospital, we also have a sibling class for these children. I also request that if a child is at a birth if there is an adult nearby that can take them away, if their children want to leave, the children can come and go as they want. We certainly never force to be — you know.

Sarah Blight:               That’s really neat. Okay. When it comes to the birth, let’s talk about the midwife versus OB kind of ways of approaching things.

Susan Wente:              Well, I have to be — you know, the OB/GYNs I work with, there is — there are three wonderful OB/GYNs but they’re as different as I am. We’re all very different. Most OB/GYNs so I’m not talking about my OB/GYNs necessarily. I’m talking most of –

Sarah Blight:               Just generally.

Susan Wente:              Right. Most OB/GYNs when they – they walk in and catch the baby, that’s the reality. In the hospitals today, birth is or labors are managed by nurses. They manage — they figure out when to call the doctor. The doctor might come in and during [0:19:49] [Inaudible] and then they disappear until it’s time to have the baby. Sometimes in busy hospitals you’ll see residents checking the patients. The doctor comes in and checks the — checks the woman just before a birth maybe but usually it’s when the woman is crowning.


And in a private practice, they do it because they’re so busy. To maintain the numbers that they need, to maintain the cost of their overhead, the staff and their salaries and their malpractice, they got to see numbers. And that’s something we forget.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              So they walk in and they deliver the baby. The baby’s delivered and then they deliver the placenta and then they stay five minutes to say congratulations and leave.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              Usually I tell the nurses at the hospital where I work at, once a woman gets in a real active labor or anytime she needs me, I want to be there. Our nurses like most nurses in hospitals are too busy to be at their bedside and even though they want to and they’re really good at what they do, they have to document constantly. So I like to be in there especially for first time mom because they’re so scared. And the lights are always low when I deliver a baby and it’s – our most nurse or midwives, things are very quiet. We tried to keep things very peaceful. We use — I use a lot of aroma therapy in the hospital with these little balls that women can squeeze that give a sense of corsage lavender or orange. We have music in the hospital that I’ve selected that they can play. We use — we don’t do water births yet. We’re working on it but we use a lot of water therapy and I give the women in there. The other thing is when I come in, I make sure those women are moving about and they’re up and moving around and especially with pushing, I work with them. It’s very hands-on.

Sarah Blight:               So when you — let’s get back to the water for a second. You said you don’t have water births yet but what other kinds of water things can you do if you don’t have a tub?

Susan Wente:              Oh, a shower is great.

Sarah Blight:               Oh, okay.

Susan Wente:              A woman can take a shower. We do use the tub in the hospital for labor.

Sarah Blight:               Oh, okay.

Susan Wente:              They are just not ready to let them deliver in the tub yet. [Laughter]

Sarah Blight:               Okay and you haven’t had an accident or baby just slip out on the tub yet? [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              I wish one would have.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, that would be cool. [Laughter]

Susan Wente:              It’s so much — I think it’s so much easier in the tub. Well, they — so a nurse midwife is more on the room with hands-on at least from the midwives. I work within the way I practice. Most of the OB/GYNs I work with in the past don’t ever do — do any hands-on as far as changing positions, getting the women to squat. Nurse midwives are more likely to have patients or women give birth in the position they desire, hands, knees, sidelines, squatting, even standing births. I work with some physicians fortunately that do those births but that’s pretty rare that a physician will do a birth with a woman out of the bed or in any position but in a semi-sitting or semi-lithotomy or she’s laying back and her legs  are up.

Sarah Blight:               Okay. What experiences, obviously, you’ve had a lot of mamas that you have taken care of in your 35 years, what are some common things that you hear from women who have kind of had experience with both sides of care, both the OB side and the midwife side? What kinds of things you hear from them?

Susan Wente:              Well I have a lot of women who are thrilled with the hospital birth to have but they’d never had a home birth so they have nothing to compare. Still as you said, the women who have both experiences, most women that choose a home birth say they’ll never have a hospital birth again. It’s –

Sarah Blight:               What about women who have a hospital birth, who have a doctor for one and then a midwife for the other?

Susan Wente:              They usually end up going back to the midwife, usually. Most women when they first get pregnant, they don’t research the differences between the providers. I think they spend more time researching what kind of car they’re going to buy [Laughter] or air conditioning for their house and the type of provider. But once they’re exposed to midwives, they usually will stay with the midwife. Some nurse midwifery practices, not some, I guess several, many have been shut down across United States because what’s happen the physicians found out that all the patients wanted to go over to the midwives and that was a real – that can be a real issue. That’s — that’s one of the problems that midwives have in hospitals. If they’re too successful, they’re likely to be shut down.

Sarah Blight:               Okay, interesting. And that is probably — I’ve heard things of that nature in the news. I’m sure mamas who are watching the same thing –

Susan Wente:              I can talk hours about them. I knew — I’ve known several different instances. I was in an instance once like that and once you’ve become successful and the woman go, “I don’t want to see you anymore doctor so and so, I’m going to go to the midwives,” and OB/GYNs have feelings just like anybody else. It’s not just money but they get their feelings hurt too.

Sarah Blight:               Sure.

Susan Wente:              And in our practice, we have — we’ve had several women who’ve changed over to me but because out OB/GYNs are rather unique at Gerber Hospital, they tend to be happy where they are and to be honest, most of the time with their OB/GYNs they get one or the four of us. We have a lucky four call [0:25:07] [Phonetic].


Sarah Blight:               Okay. So it sounds like from what you’re saying that OB/GYN vice the midwife and again, we’re not here to tell anyone which — which method or which style is right for you. It’s your choice and just figure out which one fits you better.

Susan Wente:              Right.

Sarah Blight:               And they’re both great. As long as you have a great, you know, caring, attentive doctor or midwife and not all are created equally on either side –

Susan Wente:              That’s for sure –

Sarah Blight:               You know? Well exactly I’m sure you can attest to that. So the point here is not to state one is right or one is wrong but rather to say that they’re just different.

Susan Wente:              Yeah, different.

Sarah Blight:               It sounds to me like the midwife model of care is a little bit more emotionally involved it seems like. Would you agree with that?

Susan Wente:              It’s more emotionally and holistically involved. Midwives — I used a lot of herbs. I try not to use antibiotics or I tried to do more alternative therapies as well. So most physicians don’t have any experience in that area.

Sarah Blight:               Okay. And also how many OBs do you think — if there is a woman who doesn’t want to have medication or you know, interventions, Pitocin and stuff like that, how many OBs do you think can actually seen like a natural birth without any medication? Is that pretty common?

Susan Wente:              Oh, that’s very rare.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              I think if you would speak to most residents in a residency program, they’ve never seen a normal birth.

Sarah Blight:               Okay.

Susan Wente:              They’ve never seen a woman unmedicated either with Pitocin or pain medicine. They’ve never seen a woman get birth off not on the bed and — and so they want when they get out, it’s hard for them to try new things. It’s scary –

Sarah Blight:               Dang. That’s an interesting thing to know. Is there any other advice you have for mamas who are watching who are just researching right now, you know, with their options for their care for their healthcare provider?

Susan Wente:              Well, I think the big thing is women need to realize they have the control. They have the right to go and have an interview with each person and they need to find the right person for what they need. For a lot of women, hospital birth is the only way they want but they have the right and they should go in with a list of questions and saying, “I want to know what you do in this case. I want to know what your epidural rate is, what your Pitocin rate is, what your C-section rate is. I want to know how you feel about breastfeeding right away. I want to know how you feel about,” all sorts of different things and then they interview several people and then they choose who they want. The other thing is most women think that they are bothering us, these OB providers and they aren’t bothering us. We’re paid very well in the hospital, extremely well to take care of them and they have the right to demand certain things and they have the right to get responses to their questions and they have right to having quality care that is more than a 5-minute visit. And until women start saying “I want more [Audio Glitch],” things aren’t going to change.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah, that’s a really — that’s a really true statement. I also the thought popped in my head too that, you know, if you really hit it off with an OB and you really just feel this great vibe with him or her that might be the right person for you. And regardless of whether they are a midwife or an OB, it’s really about that personal connection and if you do interview which we encourage and that’s a great thing to do, date your doctor as I like to say, to find your soulmate, you know. You know, it’s about really finding the person who you really feel like you click with as well and that you really trust and so at the end of the day –


Susan Wente:              … is out there that are just amazing.

Sarah Blight:               Yeah. So thank you so much. To all the mamas who are watching –

Susan Wente:              You’re welcome.

Sarah Blight:               … this interview, if you have any thoughts or comments about OBs or midwives or family practice doctors, we didn’t really talk specifically about family practice today, but let us know and put your comments below this interview and we are happy to hear from you and interact with you. Thank you, Susan for being with us today and thanks mamas for watching and we’ll see you soon.


  • Jessica DeLeon

    Wow, I wish Susan could deliver my baby! Such good information here– I’m very intimidated about ‘dating around’ in the midwife/ob field, and don’t even know where to begin! Maybe I’ll just drive to Michigan… ;)

    • yourbabybooty

      Come on over (or up or down!) Check out our resources 101 page, we have a “make an ask of your pregnant self” guide with questions

    • yourbabybooty

      Come on over (or up, or down) !! We have a great place for you to start it’s our “Make an Ask of (Pregnant) Self Question Guide. TOns of questions to ask yourself and your spouse about what you want and then “dating” questions to ask potential doctors or midwives. Hope this helps!

      • Jessica DeLeon

        So helpful! Thank you- will print it out tomorrow!

  • Trish Tinser

    I keep hearing about midwives, but never really understood what the differences would be. This fabulous interview gave me clarity. I’ll be looking for a midwife, it sounds more me. :) Thanks for creating this site, every day when I get home from work I come here & learn something new. I think back to how much I knew even 2 weeks ago & how much I know today thanks to you guys…Thank you!

    • yourbabybooty

      Woohoo Trish! You just made our day:) Thank you for your kind words. All the best to you!

  • rebel

    I’m a family medicine doctor. I am there from when active labor begins until about an hour after the birth, typically. And I expect I am not alone among family physicians in assuming the other kid(s) will be there for some prenatal visits. Usually I’m their doctor, too, so it works out well. I’ve attended 44 of the 45 births my patients have had this year. none of the OBs at my hospital attend their own patients – well, they might, but it’s luck of the draw, you get whoever is on call. The famiiy physicians attend their own patients’ births, rather than an on call doc. (when possible). My hospital doesn’t allow water births yet, either, but we encourage laboring in water, if that’s what seems comfortable. 15 of the 45 had epidurals, and I am at a teaching hospital so the residents I work with see natural physiologic births, in whatever position the mom wants to birth as long as the baby is doing OK.

    • yourbabybooty

      Your mamas are lucky to have you. I’ve found that family practice physicians are usually more open to letting labor & birth unfold without interfering, is that your impression as well with your colleagues? I wish more fam practice physicians offered to catch babies! Thanks for your thoughts:)

  • Alisha

    Thank you for taking the time to post these interviews! I’m just TTC (so this is premature, early planning), but I’m trying to ensure that I’m as informed as possible. I wish my cousin was aware of this site when she was gave birth in Feb – she had a horrendous birth experience :( which was mainly due, I believe, to not “dating her doctor” and being fully aware of her options. Again thank you so much for this.

    • yourbabybooty

      You’re welcome Alisha! So many women’s experiences would drastically change if they had a different provider. That’s why I ended up breaking up with my Dr at 28 weeks and dating until I found my soul mate:) It’s the most important thing (in my humble opinion!) and it’s never too early to start educating yourself:) Bravo to you!