Natural Birth: Midwife vs OB

by Kortney Campbell on September 24, 2012

As of tomorrow, I’m 37 weeks pregnant, meaning I’m considered full term despite the fact that the little man isn’t technically due until October 16th. There has been so much going on around here lately in regards to this baby, so I wanted to touch on a few things that we’ve been planning for.

Labor and delivery is something I wish I would have researched from day one. However, I didn’t feel so passionately about it until last week, and I’ve spent SO much time trying to sort everything out since then that my head is spinning.

I began my pregnancy seeing my regular OB/GYN. It’s a group practice, so you’re constantly rotated from Dr to Dr, but seeing how I only really went to the office for an annual check-up, I never really had much experience with that. Since I recently began my weekly appointments, I started noticing that none of the OBs really knew my name or even bothered to read my chart – instead, they would just ask me “have we done this yet?”. Then, I realized that at 36 weeks, they hadn’t even told me what to do when I go into labor and when I asked a question or raised a concern, it was always brushed under the rug and left unanswered by anyone other than Google (who actually told me to ask my OB)!

I’ve wanted a natural birth since day one, but in the back of my mind I knew I was open to an epidural if the pain became too much. From what I’ve read and after talking to other mammas, I realized that this meant I was getting the medicine for sure. After doing some research rather late in the game, I realized that some of the medicine frequently used in hospital births can actually cause fetal distress, leading to those life or death situations that typically wouldn’t occur in a natural birth. After weighing my options and getting John on board, I decided that I wasn’t open to intervention unless it REALLY was a life or death situation for the baby or myself.

At my last appointment, I asked my OB about a few things I was adamant about during my labor and delivery, and her answers proved that a hospital birth wasn’t for me. I left the office in tears and came home to find out I was going to be unable to switch providers with so little time left. However, after the help of an amazing friend of my husband’s (and midwife in training), we found a local birth center that would allow me to switch to their care and not only have the natural birth that I want, but a water birth (Bleubird’s birth story is a great read if you’re thinking of a water and/or home birth)! I had my first official prenatal appointment with my midwife today and it was AMAZING! Not to mention, he’s ready for launch – butt in the air, head down and feet happily kicking me in my side every chance he gets.

On a lighter note, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that the majority of my Sundays have been spent making baby bedding. This was actually my first big sewing project, so it has been quite exciting to say the least. Here are a few peeks at his room progress. We still have a lot to do before he evacuates my belly, but its coming along!

His bed and little friends.

His Star Wars Mobile.

His little corner of our bedroom in progress.

And yes, we decided to announce his name!

Do you have any little ones or are you planning to in the future? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the different birthing options in the comments below!

Please note that I’m sharing my story not to convince you of anything, but to let you know that there are options outside of what your health care provider may tell you. It is your body and your baby, meaning you have the right to question everything that will be done to it!

Oh and happy Monday – this song has the ability to make you cry. Especially if you’re pregnant.

About Kortney Campbell

I'm Kortney; a wife, natural mama and vegan in love with life, food and all things vintage! I've been vegan since December 2007, but have loved to cook & create pretty things since before I can remember. I started Vegan Housewives because I don't think you have to give up the joys of food when going vegan! I have a fondness for re-creating non-vegan recipes (especially my grandma's), making a healthier & animal friendly version so be sure to send me your favorite concoctions by clicking our "share a recipe" button - I would LOVE to veg-i-fy them!

  • { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Liane September 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    While I’m not a mom yet – my mother-in-law has some fancy title – I think she was for many years the head of the women’s and children’s services of a major hospital in West Palm Beach where I grew up. She often delivered babies if docs didn’t get there in time, and is an amazing lady and I always pictured her delivering mine wherever I ended up. I can imagine it must feel very impersonal if a nurse or OB doesn’t even seem to care or know your name. But if it were me, I’d want to be in a major hospital when it happens – just in case. I know birthing centers nowadays are very well equipped but I’d just feel safer I think in a major hospital in case the worst happened and there needed to be some sort of immediate surgery or action taken – that a multitude of other types of doctors are in one building and at your beck and call. Just my thoughts – whatever you choose I’m sure you’ll do amazing. <3


    Andi September 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    My good friend Laura is a Bradley Method instructor and had both her kids naturally – the first at Bayfront, her second was at the birthing center in Largo, but she used the same doula for both. Do you have a doula?

    And, you can get away with a natural birth in a hospital if that’s your intention – she did it, many of my friends have done it – they’re very open to whatever your plan is. I had an epi but nothing else (no narcotics, etc). I really felt very little “force” in making any of my decisions and the nurses at the hospital almost all try to get you through as much of your plan as possible – they’re awesome.

    If you go in armed with information about what your choices are, it’s hard to be convinced of something you know isn’t right. That said: I know your midwife/birthing center experience will be glorious :)


    Mary Catherine September 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Congrats on switching to a midwife! I’m a doula/childbirth educator and a big supporter of women using midwives & staying out of the hospital if a normal undisturbed birth is what they hope for. My son was born in a birth center and it was so lovely.

    Best wishes!


    Dee September 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Wow! Congratulations on deciding on a birth center! My wife and I are trying to have a baby for 8 months and we’ve been wanting a home birth. Originally I decided to having a home birth after read the John Robbins (author of Diet for a New America) book Reclaiming Our Health, which dealt with hospital birth. Of course the movie “The Business of Being Born sent the message home. Good luck with it!!!!


    Sarah September 25, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I have a very similar story to yours and I am so happy you switched in time. After realizing that the OB I was seeing really just saw me as another dollar in his pocket (and after asking some penetrating questions, his annoyed reaction was hurtful & confusing), my husband and I decided to make the switch. I’ve been bent on a drug free, natural birth from the beginning, and realized that a birthing center would be more ideal. I made the switch at 31 weeks (I am now 34 weeks). The experience is amazing so far, and the environment a world apart! I feel like I am in wonderful hands, and I am ready to embark on my journey of birthing & meeting my son about a month after you (Nov. 12). Best of luck, and trust me, there are plenty of people who think just like you, even if it seems like the opposite.


    Lotta September 26, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Congratulations! Here in Finland nearly all “normal” (as in relatively trouble-free) births are attended by midwifes only. Usually the doctor only checks the newborn on a second day before the new family’s departure for home. I have given birth to two healthy children without any pain relief (apart from sitting in a warm bath – I found that really helpfull for the contractions) and both times it was a good experience. I just didn’t feel like I needed anything for the labour pains really – it’s not too bad, honestly! And the pain is kind of constructive pain with a great prize at the end, if you know what I mean! Have you red a book called Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth? ( It was a big help to me when I was preparing for the birth of my first child. All the best for you and your family when the time comes – I love all the things you’re prepared for your child by the way!


    Dee September 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I love this blog and the pictures. I respect and admire that you are listening to your instinct s and very happy that you are happy with your decision and feel so good about the Birthing Center. I am anxiously awaiting the birth.


    Lydia October 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    I just found your blog and am so happy I did. I had a home water birth with my son a year ago and it was the most empowering, peaceful wonderful experience I could imagine. My labor lasted nearly 3 days but I wouldn’t trade a moment of that – it was the most incredible experience and my son and I were fine the whole time – it just took a little longer for us. I’m so thankful we weren’t in a hospital where I might have been tempted by an epidural (because there WAS that moment I thought, “No wonder women get drugs! I don’t blame anyone for having an epidural.” Although I think that moment came during transition for me, so it probably would have been too late for an epidural anyway), or have to convince the medical staff that my labor hadn’t “failed to progress,” but was just progressing on it’s own schedule. I had a very healthy vegetarian pregnancy and prepared for the birth by reading all the birth stories I could, Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, and taking a Bradley birthing class with my husband. We had a CNM from Vero Beach attend our birth, she was amazing. Having a homebirth in Florida is so much easier than most other states, we are very lucky in that respect. I was born at home and witnessed my sister being born at home when I was 8 years old so I always knew it was where I would choose to give birth if I was low risk. I’m ever so grateful to have a mother who taught me how to be a strong, confident woman who could do anything she chose – including give birth the way our bodies were created to. I don’t know that home birth is something I would have ever thought of/been confident enough to try if I wasn’t raised with that respect for natural birth. Congratulations on your pregnancy and kudos for seriously considering your birth options and questioning the “normal” way of birthing in America. Best of luck!


    VeganHousewives October 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story!! I love hearing about other women’s inspiring births!!


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