Childbirth is one human process that biologically and historically does not usually require medical assistance. In fact, our ancestors survived this ordeal while living in caves, forests, and even wilderness, even though the survival rates for mother and child often suffered. Because complications can arise, it is often prudent to hire a medical professional for the job. This will ensure the highest probability of a safe delivery. For many women, this reason alone is sufficient to rule out using a midwife during delivery.
Here are 3 disadvantages of using a midwife that also must be factored into the child birthing decision (even though they are only important in extreme situations).
Disadvantage #1 - Midwives Carry the Basic Childbirth Tools Only
A midwife is sometimes the choice for child birthing assistance because a mother can enjoy the delivery in the comfort of home. If this is the case, it is important to remember that a midwife only carries the basic birthing tools suited for normal deliveries. A midwife will not carry an ultrasound machine, pulse machine, or anesthesia (even in small doses or for high risk pregnancies). Even if a mother delivered in a hospital room full of equipment, the midwife still would be unable to utilize it. The reason is simple: Midwives do not have the license to utilize these tools. If you believe that your delivery requires a special tool, machine, or drug to make the whole process easier, you will need a licensed medical specialist.
Midwives have no ability to prescribe medicine, run medical procedures, or do medical tests. No matter how much trust you have, it is unethical and illegal for a midwife to practice in these areas.
Disadvantage #2 - Some Midwives are not trained for High Risk Pregnancies
High risk pregnancies include ectopic pregnancies, an expecting mother with terminal disease, a caesarian operation, or a high number of babies birthing. These require the care of specialists. Midwives, while skilled, can't meddle with these scenarios because of lack of knowledge and license. This is not a time to entrust your life and your baby's life to a midwife.
If a true emergency arises in the middle of the delivery, your midwife has no choice but transfer you to a hospital under the care of a doctor. Unless a midwife is also a registered nurse, the midwife will left out of the procedure once it has been turned over to licensed medical professionals.
Disadvantage #3 - Some Medical Insurance Companies Don't Honor Birthing Homes
Health insurance companies typically do not include the services of a midwife as part of the coverage plan (especially for a home birth). Some insurance companies will insist that a specialist is hired. This may, in fact, be financially beneficial and more cost effective than hiring a lower cost midwife. It is important to review your insurance coverage prior to becoming pregnant (since changes cannot be made or coverage gained once a pregnancy has been confirmed). It is very important to understand the terms of agreement before you sign your insurance papers; be sure to ask specific questions about what will or will not be covered (never assume that you are covered for a pregnancy just because your insurance offers great coverage for other health issues).