Midwife vs Doctor: Understanding the Key Differences in Pregnancy Care

Discover the crucial differences between a midwife and doctor in the medical field, including their responsibilities, education requirements, and salary.

Midwifery and OB-GYN doctors are both critical roles in the field of women's health, yet they offer distinct approaches to care during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives are trained medical professionals who focus on providing personalized, supportive care throughout the pregnancy journey, including prenatal care, labor and delivery. On the other hand, OB-GYNs are highly educated and experienced doctors who specialize in all aspects of gynecological and obstetrical care, including diagnosing and treating complex medical conditions related to pregnancy.

The choice between a midwife or OB-GYN doctors ultimately comes down to a woman's individual needs and preferences. In this article, we will dive into the differences and similarities between these two professions, exploring the education, training, and services offered by each, to help women make informed decisions about their prenatal care.

The Role of a Midwife

A midwife is a medical professional who specializes in providing care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Some of the responsibilities of a midwife include.

  • Providing prenatal care, including physical exams, health assessments, and education
  • Monitoring the progress of pregnancy and labor
  • Assisting with natural childbirth or providing pain management options
  • Administering medications and providing postpartum care
  • Building trust and rapport with patients through personalized, holistic care

In addition to clinical care, midwives also educate women on various aspects of reproductive health, including nutrition, lactation, fertility, birth control, and family planning. They also perform important screenings and exams, such as Pap tests, breast exams, and STI screenings, to ensure overall reproductive and sexual health for their patients.

Midwives work in various settings including hospitals, birth centers, and clinics. In the United States, a midwifery career requires a master's degree and certification from the American Midwifery Board.

In New Zealand, midwifery is a well-respected profession with competitive earnings. A new midwife can expect an average annual salary of $65,000, while those with five years of experience can earn between $69,000 and $84,000. Senior midwives, with their extensive experience and skills, can earn between $87,000 and $138,000 per year.

To sum up, midwives play a crucial role in caring for pregnant women and providing support during labor and childbirth. They use their expertise to ensure the best possible outcomes for mothers and their babies.

The Role of an OB-GYN Doctor

An OB-GYN doctor provides comprehensive pregnancy and childbirth services. However, what makes an OB-GYN doctor different from midwives is the diagnostics, examinations, and treatments related to the female reproductive system. An OB-GYN works with a woman throughout their pregnancy, providing services such as:

  • Providing comprehensive care for women's reproductive health, including gynecological exams and diagnosing and treating medical conditions
  • Performing prenatal care, including ultrasound exams, genetic testing, and risk assessments
  • Assisting with high-risk pregnancies and delivery complications
  • Performing gynecological surgeries, such as C-sections or hysteroscopies

OB-GYNs collaborate with other healthcare professionals to deliver the best possible patient outcomes, and have the knowledge and experience to perform surgical procedures, including C-sections. In addition, OB-GYNs serve as general health providers for women, using evidence-based practices to diagnose and treat a wide range of reproductive issues, such as cervical and ovarian cancers, menopause, and other conditions.

OB-GYNs can work in hospitals, clinics, birth centers, or run their own private practices. In a hospital setting, OB-GYNs may lead a team of medical staff, nurses, and midwives to provide comprehensive care to pregnant women. They may also design and implement health programs for hospitals, clinics, and community centers, making a positive impact on women's health in their communities.

Becoming an OB-GYN requires a rigorous education, including a four-year medical school program, an undergraduate degree, an internship, and a residency program to obtain licensure. According to New Zealand's government, OB-GYNs' salaries depend on various factors, including years of experience, the number of hours they work in a health facility, the clinic's location, and emergency duties. The average salary of a new OB-GYN doctor is between $81,000 and $192,000 per year. Qualified OB-GYNs have an average annual salary between $164,000 and $244,000. However, this could vary if you work in a private facility or run your own clinic.

Final Words

While OB-GYN doctors have a highly comprehensive knowledge base and provide a wide range of medical services, one advantage of working with a midwife is their personalized and intimate approach to patient care. Midwives focus on building strong relationships with their patients, creating trust and rapport through open communication and empathetic care. This personalized touch allows midwives to provide a more holistic and supportive experience for women during the important moments of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Women who work with midwives often report feeling more comfortable and confident in their care, knowing that their midwife is invested in their individual needs and well-being.

The table below summarizes the difference between a midwive and an OB-GYN doctor.

Midwife VS. OB-GYN Doctor



OB-GYN Doctor


Pregnancy, delivery, postpartum care

Pregnant women's reproductive health


Family planning, annual checkups, nutrition plans, menopause-related care, and parental education

Pregnancy care, reproductive health, diagnostics, treatments, therapeutic plans for short-term and long-term wellbeing


Low-risk pregnancies and childbirths

Mother-focused care

Providing support to women at a hospital or clinic

 Intimate and personal approach to care

High-risk pregnancies and childbirths

Prescribing medications



Surgical procedures to repair pelvic injuries

Ovarian cysts removal 



Similar posts

Want to stay updated?

Subscribe to our news, updates and more.