Are midwives as knowledgeable as obstetricians?

It was a question I was asked recently. I had to stop and think.

Midwifery and obstetrics are separate and distinct professions.  It could not be as simple as comparing the knowledge of an obstetrician with the knowledge of a midwife.

Obstetrics is focused on the early detection of variations from normal to avoid or minimise potential harmful outcomes.

Midwifery is holistic and preventative in nature.

Both midwives and obstetricians are qualified and educated to provide care to women during pregnancy and birth, however we probably see our roles very differently.

We also use a different - but overlapping - knowledge base.

Midwives are very knowledgeable about normal pregnancy, birth and postnatal care.  We are experts at detecting problems and referring accordingly to an obstetrician or paediatrician.  Obstetricians are skilled at diagnosis, treatment and assessment of problems.

Learn more about private midwifery care and shared care.