Aug 1, 2022 OB/GYN or Midwife: Which Is Right for You?

Pregnant Woman Holding Stomach

Choosing your path to a happy, healthy pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, seeking out a prenatal care practitioner is one of the first things on the to-do list. Women who go to Women’s Health at Grove Street at Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) have a choice between having regular visits with a midwife, with an OB/GYN or both.

How do you know which is the right choice for you?

Types of Care

Patricia Chau, MD
Patricia Chau, MD

OB/GYNs and midwives differ in education as well as approach. OB/GYNs are medical doctors, and the midwives at JCMC are all RNs (Registered Nurses) as well as CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives), meaning they have master’s degrees and higher.

Both OB/GYNs and CNMs provide all types of care for women, from routine gynecological exams and prescribing contraception to delivering babies.

High-risk patients or patients looking to deliver via cesarean section should choose an OB/GYN. Patients considered high-risk include those who have a preexisting condition, are pregnant with multiple babies, or have been diagnosed with conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. “Only OB/GYNs have the training to perform surgical procedures, such as cesarean section, as well as perform operative deliveries with a vacuum or forceps in the event that intervention is needed during labor,” explains Patricia Chau, MD, an OB/ GYN at JCMC and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group.

Anne Lawson, MSN-CNM, BSN, RN
Anne Lawson, MSN-CNM,

For patients who are considered low-risk, vaginal delivery with a midwife can be an excellent option. In 2021, 77 percent of the normal vaginal deliveries at JCMC were performed by midwives. “The word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman,’” explains Anne Lawson, MSN-CNM, BSN, RN, Director of Midwifery at JCMC and an RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group provider. “It means that I’m here to support you with whatever kind of birth experience you want. If you want an epidural, I’m going to get it for you. If you don’t, I’m going to support you with that as well.”

During labor, “midwives are more present in the pushing phase,” says Lawson. “We’re there, encouraging you.”

The Benefits of Both

At Women’s Health at Grove Street, the maternity team collaborates to provide care tailored to each patient’s needs. In addition, Women’s Health uses rotational care to provide its pregnant patients with the opportunity to meet every practitioner.

“Each patient gets the chance to meet with each practitioner in the practice,” explains Dr. Chau. “We encourage that, particularly so the patient can get to know all of the practitioners in case their regular doctor or midwife can’t be there for their delivery.” If a patient develops a condition that puts her in a highrisk category, an OB/GYN is always available to assume care.

“Our team shares the same goal for all of our patients,” says Dr. Chau, “and that is a normal, healthy delivery.”

To learn more about maternal care at Women’s Health at Grove Street, call 201-984-1270.