Physicians and midwives provide many similar services, including access to genetic testing, laboratory testing, ultrasounds and specialist referrals. Both care providers support women throughout pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period. Both doctors and midwives write prescriptions, are able to access pharmaceutical pain relief in labour, and refer to obstetricians for complications in pregnancy or birth.
Midwives tend to offer longer prenatal and postpartum visits, ranging from 30-60 minutes per visit. This enables midwives to provide more information to clients and to encourage women to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Midwives do not work according to an "informed consent" model of care, but rather by an "informed choice" model of care. This means that the midwife does not generate a care plan and request the consent of a woman, but instead she provides the woman with education and supports her to be the primary decision-maker for her own health.