So, exactly what does a midwife do?
For centuries before obstetricians began delivering babies in hospitals, midwives were assisting mothers in the comfort of their homes. The term “midwife” comes from the Old English phrase “with woman”. The role has expanded from focus on assistance with labor and delivery solely to (but, not limited to):
~Performing gynecological exams
~Helping with preconception planning
~Providing prenatal care
~Guidance with newborn care issues, such as; breastfeeding
~Offering help for women going through menopause
A midwife specializes in giving birth as natural as possible with little medical intervention. Studies have shown births attended by a midwife had significantly lower death rates, lower risks of delivering a low-birth-weight-baby, fewer C-sections than obstetricians and used fewer resources, such as forceps and vacuums for delivery.
Having the emotional, practical and social support that a midwife offers is an invaluable gift throughout pregnancy and after. Let’s face it, other than a mother-child relationship there is no other bond like a community of women and mothers.
There are different levels of training for midwives, the state in which you live determines the certification level permitted for a midwife to practice. Your midwife has a relationship with an OB in whom she consults with as needed. In the manner of a doctor or OB, your midwife can provide care before, during or after your pregnancy. She may refer you to an OB for care as needed if a problem arises during the pregnancy. Some midwives may team with another midwife or doula to help with labor and delivery.
She will provide planning, prenatal exams, ordering of tests, monitor physical and psychological health and even help with birth plans. Most importantly, she offers you clarity which in turn creates peace of mind during this eventful stage in life. Learn more about the benefits of using a midwife.
Next step, how to choose the best midwife for you and your family.