Please Shop Around for Your Care Provider!
In North America there are two models of care - Midwifery and Obstetrics. It could be argued that there is a third model - that of a family physician. But a family physician is either trained by a Certified Nurse-Midwife or an Obstetrician so their own model of care will go either way. Midwifery is for healthy pregnancies where it looks like the childbirth will go smoothly, Obstetrics is for complicated pregnancies where it looks like the childbirth will require surgical-type interventions.
Although there is now funding for Midwifery in Edmonton (meaning you will not have to pay out of your pocket to have a midwife!), there is still a shortage of it (meaning if you didn't sign up for a midwife right away, you'll be lucky if you get a call at some point in pregnancy that you've been approved and may now start seeing the midwife). The result is that a lot of healthy pregnancies are being supervised by obstetricians (since family physicians rarely practice this type of care and if they do it is usually only in the less populated areas).
Just like Doulas, though, each Care Provider is a unique individual and brings their own personality and background to the table. A Midwife may use many of the techniques of a Midwife but refer more patients to Obstetricians than the next and not be as positive about natural childbirth as the next! An Obstetrician may go above and beyond the safety guidelines they seem to follow but ensure that the pregnant are moving around and using gravity and feeling safe!
It IS important to shop around, read through the reviews (with a grain of salt ;-) ), and be clear in your own mind about what is important to you. Do you prefer to be in the hospital where you know there is medical equipment and pain medication right there if you need it? It is really important to you that your other children be present? Do you prefer a Care Provider who is more hands-off or one who is on-the-job taking care of things? Write down some questions you may have before you go in for your next appointment. For a list of idea questions, see pages 308-309 of Chapter 13: Choosing a Caregiver in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (email me to borrow the book). For a couple of specific recommendations for Midwives and Obstetricians, email me here.
Best of luck to you all!