Birth Options Series – When Midwife-Led Care, When Ob&Gyn-Led Care?

Welcome and thank you for listening!

Dr. Howard Manyonga is the founder of Network One Health (Pty) Ltd a health management company that establishes and operates Integrated Maternity Practices. These are multidisciplinary teams with a presence in the community and strong linkages to referral hospitals. Howard has extensive experience as an independent Ob Gyn and has held senior management positions in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. From 2016 to Feb 2021, he ran a large-scale demonstration of team-based maternity care in the cash market that grew to four sites across the country before he left the role in early 2021 to establish Network One Health. He believes value-based care, built of collaborative relationships that transcend geographic location and disciplinary boundaries, are key in achieving universal access to maternity care.

Choosing A Birth Practitioner  

Deciding which birth practitioner to go to can seem quite overwhelming! A good way to go about finding a good practitioner is to:

  • Contact the hospitals in your area – or the area where you’d like to give birth – and find out which doctors practise there
  • Ask your friends and acquaintances for their recommendations and experiences
  • ‘Interview’ a few doctors to find someone who you feel comfortable with and who listens to your preferences and tries to support you as far as safely possible
  • Phone each doctor’s room beforehand and ask about the price

Many women want a more personal touch for their birth and are turning to private midwives instead of doctors. Most midwives advertise their services in the classifieds section of baby and parenting magazines, at clinics which have Active Birth Units, or at doctor’s consultation rooms.

Although it shouldn’t be the main consideration, you will need to take cost into account. Midwives tend to be slightly cheaper and are covered by most medical aids. Some private hospitals are also starting a lower cost midwifery birthing service. You can get care practically for free in a state antenatal clinic and hospital; while many people have bad experiences in these understaffed and overcrowded units, others are very happy and have received exceptional care.

Choosing A Midwife

The bottom line is that an experienced midwife in private practice is most likely to give you a happy, safe, and empowering birth experience based on dedicated professional care and easy access to information supplied by a knowledgeable person. A midwife is not only fully trained to handle normal deliveries and offer personalised support for the mom-to-be, but can also recognise when medical intervention is necessary. Here are some things to take into account when considering using a midwife:

A midwife has more time to address your individual concerns and offer you personal support than traditional medical birth – this can be very reassuring if you’re anxious about birth

  • A midwife meets your need for personal sharing extra female support and companionship
  • Most private midwives work closely with an obstetrician who can be called in if medical intervention becomes necessary
  • Most medical aids reimburse private midwifery services
  • Midwives often advertise their services at clinics which have Active Birth Units and in the classified section of pregnancy and baby magazines – always ask for references
  • Many midwives offer childbirth education classes and a well-baby clinic after birth too
  • Individual rapport is vital, so carry out a few ‘interviews’ and choose someone you like and get on well with