Reasons to Consider a Midwifeby Elizabeth MacDonald
Doctors are AMAZING. We need doctors. We need doctors for women whose pregnancies are high risk, or for when there is something wrong. However, studies show that using a midwife and birthing outside of a hospital lower the rates of unnecessary medical interventions, leading to healthier birth outcomes.
We have been taught to fear labor, to expect things to go wrong and to assume that being next door to a NICU is the best decision we can make. While this is true for high-risk pregnancies, if you are low risk and healthy, consider interviewing and using a midwife throughout your pregnancy. You can still labor in a hospital or birth center attached to a hospital, which is where some midwives work; but there are also free-standing birth centers and home birthing as options as well! All of these options come with proper and standard (or more frequent and personal) prenatal care by a midwife, who is taught to support healthy pregnancies and births.
The following article is not against doctors, as OB/GYNs can also provide personal and wonderful experiences! they are immeasurably important. This article is to share that there is an entire profession out there who are taught to support you throughout a healthy pregnancy. Many new mothers may not know about midwives, and they are indeed an option that everyone should know about!
Top Reasons to Consider a Midwife
Midwives are nurses that have been educated in pregnancy, labor, birth, and postnatal care
They specialize in women’s care and are not only taught how to handle emergency situations, but how to handle things in a natural manner. They understand, teach, and help others to understand the body and its functions in a natural manner.
A Midwife does it all
You don’t see a nurse before you see the midwife. You see the midwife - at every appointment. You get to know and trust your midwife. She is there for appointments, phone calls, labor, the birth of your baby, and your postnatal care. Most midwives will even continue on as your annual female doctor for any needed visits. While doctors and midwives both strive for a healthy mother and a healthy baby as the end goal, the steps to accomplish this are quite different between the two professions.
Midwives give personal attention; they nurture.
A midwife may come to your home for my check-up. She may bring you lunch and talk with you for over 2 hours. You may discuss your vision of birth, her vision of birth, logistics, and setting up everything birth related. You will cover your birth plan and check overall questions and concerns. Occasionally, an appointment is missed due to another woman being in labor, but that shows you the treatment that you will be given when it is your turn to birth. When it comes time to labor and birth, a midwife is truly in her element. Depending on what you want for your birth, she may be but a fly on the wall or she may be holding your hand. (This is a great time to learn about doulas too!)
Midwives do provide options, and they ask before acting
There are midwives who carry Pitocin and other medical options, including “happy gas” and sleep medicines. During your interviews, you can ask questions about what she provides, what she tends to offer and use, and what she is firmly against. Midwives tend to also give location options for birth. Hospital, birth center, or at-home births are your choice as the mother.
Midwives avoid interventions whenever possible
Because pregnancy and birth are not an illness or disease, they need very little (or no) medical intervention. Midwives understand this and avoid interventions. There is no medical need to have your cervix checked, as you can dilate 5cm in one hour or 5cm over a 3 week period of time – it means nothing and increases the risk of infection in most cases.
Midwives avoid induction
Knowing that induction is the first intervention in what could be a domino effect of interventions, midwives avoid inducing mothers. The average pregnancy length in 41 weeks and 1 day. That means that half of women go past this date!
Midwives believe in the mother and baby’s ability to birth
They tend not to strip membranes, break the bag of waters, tell you when to push, or alter your labor. They believe the baby should pick his birthday and that the mother’s body was made to birth the baby. A midwife’s confidence tends to lead to a mother’s confidence. This confidence lends itself toward control – and being in control of your labor is an empowering feeling.
Midwives increase your chances of a healthy birth and postpartum period
Statistically speaking, utilizing a midwife lowers the chances of preterm birth, an unplanned medicated birth, unplanned interventions (such as episiotomies, forceps, etc), an unplanned c-section, and postpartum problems (such as infection).
Midwives make you happy
It has been shown that women who choose a midwife for pregnancy care are generally happier throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period than those who choose an alternative option.
Midwives provide medical, emotional, and spiritual guidance
Yes, a midwife will be there medically for you. That is her job. However, most midwives provide open arms and a shoulder to lean on; they listen to your concerns and can help sort your emotions. Because emotional issues tend to influence labor, a midwife likes to understand where her mother’s head is throughout pregnancy.