15 Good Reasons to Choose a Midwife

midwife checkup on pregnant woman dopplerWith the popularity of homebirths and natural childbirth on the rise, so too is the number of midwives delivering babies. Recent studies show midwives are delivering 8.1 percent of the country's babies -- and 12.1 percent of vaginal births, or about one of every eight deliveries -- an all-time high, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The promising trend shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering the numerous benefits associated with having a midwife by your side as you deliver your baby. Here, 15 good reasons to go with a midwife ...

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  1. Women who work with a midwife throughout pregnancy have lower chances of pre-term birth, according to reviewed data from 13 trials involving 16,242 women in The Cochrane Library.
  2. The same research found women who work with a midwife are less likely to lose their babies before 24 weeks.
  3. And having a midwife as your health care provider is associated with fewer epidurals, fewer episiotomies, and fewer assisted births.
  4. Midwives aim to instill a great deal of self-trust in their patients. "We put the belief in women that they can do whatever they put their mind to," explains midwife Pam Hetrick, CNM, of the Family Birthing Center at West Medical Center in Willoughby, Ohio. "This is so important in pregnancy to give women the power and knowledge to be prepared for labor and birth and care for their newborn."
  5. Women who received midwife-only care were generally happier.
  6. Having a midwife makes you no more likely to have a C-section.
  7. If you're interested in natural childbirth, midwifery philosophy is very much in line with the sort of labor and delivery you would like to plan. They can also work with you to have a natural delivery in a hospital.
  8. Although there are certainly OB/GYNs who believe in this philosophy, as well, midwives are particularly committed to helping a woman carry out her ideal birth experience/plan (unmedicated, homebirth, etc.). "We truly believe that women are our partners in healthcare," says Hetrick. "We support women in their choices that they make for themselves and their baby."
  9. They're also committed to providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support, according to their model of care.
  10. By choosing a midwife, you'll automatically have more options for where you can give birth, such as in a birthing center or at home.
  11. The midwives' "model of care" includes that the provider will monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother through her pregnancy. Hetrick explains, "We provide them with more than their physical care, but emotional and spiritual needs of the mother and her family."
  12. The cost of childbirth could be less with a midwife, as they often offer payment plans, sliding fees, and are willing to accept most insurance plans including Medicaid.
  13. Midwives routinely identify and refer women who require obstetrical attention, so if your circumstances change and you do need a medical doctor, your midwife can play "middlewoman" in that situation.
  14. Women who have midwives have fewer recovery complications.
  15. There are no advantages of a standard obstetric hospital approach over a nurse-midwife setting inside or outside of the hospital, according to doctoral research conducted by Dr. Peter Schlenzka, Ph.D. of Stanford University.

How do you feel about choosing a midwife over a OB/GYN?


Image via Corbis

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