Originally posted on: May 14, 2015
How does the midwifery model of care differ from the medical model?
The midwifery model of care differs from the medical model in terms of responsibility of care, perspective of pregnancy, definitions of care and the sources of therapies.
One primary difference between the two models of maternity care involves the person responsible for the pregnancy. In the medical model, the physician is of primary responsibility. The midwifery model, however, views the mother as the primary responsible party for her own well-being and the well-being of her fetus.
While pregnancy is understood as a pathological state in obstetrics, midwives view pregnancy as a healthy natural state. Allopathic medicine views the mother’s body as a separate entity from her fetus. Midwives view the two as one during pregnancy. This perspective of pregnancy, in turn, influences therapeutic approaches and parameters
The midwife utilizes natural care remedies, focusing primarily on preventive diet, social support and exercise. When greater interventions are appropriate, holistic approaches are employed, including herbs, homeopathy, and body work.
A medical doctor depends largely on testing, pharmaceutical drugs, and preemptive technological interventions. The physician’s parameters of care do not usually include social support or intense counseling of nutrition and exercise.
The differences between the two models reflect, in part, variations in training and expertise. A midwife is well suited to support healthy pregnancy and delivery. Meanwhile, a physician is primarily trained for pathology. Both are necessary for excellent maternity care in any community.