Photo by cali4niachef
Last week was National Midwifery Week, but I think all midwives should be appreciated all the time.
What is a midwife?
Midwifery literally means "with woman" and is a holistic, woman-centered care philosophy. Midwives spend more time in prenatal appointments with their clients than most doctors do. Midwives are trained to prevent many common pregnancy complications through preventive care practices. Midwives spend time educating their clients about nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction to help maintain healthy pregnancies. Midwives tend to be less interventive, relying less on technology and more on personal care to attend to the needs of their clients. Midwives also tend to provide more individualized care, offering more flexibility and open discussion of your personal preferences and your birth plan.
What made you decide to become a midwife?
There were several things that were a catalyst to me becoming a midwife. My own births of course, and working in a hospital on the postpartum floor seeing the disastrous results that L&D sent up and the lack of choices women having in regards to birth in the state I live in. I want to provide options for women. If they want to have a vaginal breech, twins, or VBAC they should have that choice.
How does a midwife care for a woman during pregnancy?
A midwife cares for a woman during pregnancy just like any other provider, but better in my opinion! They do prenatals and can order lab work (depending on their certification and state they reside in). Usually prenatals last about an hour with out-of-hospital birth midwives.
What about after pregnancy?
Depends on where you give birth on how your postpartum care is done. Usually with birth centers a nurse or midwife will do a home visit on the third day, followed by a one week and six week postpartum check up at the birth center. With homebirth midwives, they do a follow up the following day after you give birth at home. Then again at three days and one week postpartum. Then a six week follow-up done either at her office or your home.
How is midwifery care different?
I think midwifery care is superior to OB care. Midwives really try to establish a lasting relationship with their clients and they offer quality care. While many midwives are deeply committed to the Midwives Model of Care, some midwives practice with more of a medically-inspired model of care. Do your research. Ask lots of specific questions. Check out referrals. Most importantly, trust your instincts. Only you can decide which midwife best suits your needs.
Whatever your birth plan entails, if you would like to experience your birth as a healthy, natural, joyful life transition, a midwife is a great choice to support and care for you through your pregnancy and birth.
Lastly, I would also recommend looking into doulas regardless where you give birth.
Have you worked with a midwife or doula?