Are you in the process of finding the just-right labor and delivery team for your pregnancy or soon-to-be pregnancy? Whether you’re doing your homework prior to conceiving, or just got the positive results on a pregnancy test (congratulations!), your comfort, confidence and well-being throughout your pregnancy and delivery are directly connected to the quality of care provided by your healthcare team.
So, we’re wondering – have you considered using a midwife?
Midwife + OB = The Best Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery Care on the Planet
Midwives have facilitated and administered well-woman and well-baby care for thousands of years.
After the turn of the 20th century, we admit that medicine and science became rather full of itself. While it’s true that sanitized environments and innovative research yielded valuable information and treatment options, it’s also true that the medical field went a little overboard when it came to taking over the midwifery realm and medicalizing pregnancy and childbirth.
- Have lower cesarean birth rates
- Have lower rates of induced labors and/or augmentation
- Have significantly lower rates of third- and fourth-degree perennial tears
- Experience lower usage of interventions such as epidurals and other regional anesthesia
- Higher rates of breastfeeding success
- Fewer incidences of more serious or invasive interventions
- And the list goes on
When midwifery care is paired with care from an obstetrician, women’s birth outcomes improve even further. In our minds, using a midwife who practices in tandem with dedicated OBs provide the best overall birthing outcomes on the planet
Midwives Provide Individualized, Mother-Centered Care
From a midwife’s perspective, pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding are all natural processes – not medical conditions that need to be managed, treated or co-opted. The exceptions to this paradigm are cases where the pregnancy is considered high-risk for any reason. For high-risk pregnancies, the midwife will turn the medical aspects of care over the physician, while maintaining a close, mother-centered and readily available model of care for the duration of her client’s pregnancy and through the first six weeks or so of the post-partum period. They also believe that outside of emergency situations, women should be informed, empowered and able to make their own decisions about their bodies and their babies during pregnancy, labor and delivery.
There are various degrees of midwifery certification. Here at Women’s Health Associates, we work with Certified Nurse Midwives, who are RNs first and then went on to specialize in midwifery. If you don’t go that route, we recommend working with a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM or CM), who are recognized as equal to CNMs by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. You can read more about variations in credentials on the Citizens for Midwifery’s FAQ page.
Licensed midwives practice under a universal model, referred to as The Midwifery Model of Care. This model of care includes:
- Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
- Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
- Minimizing technological interventions
- Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
How does midwifery care differ from that of an OB?
Many aspects of an appointment with an OB and a midwife will be the same in terms of questions and answers regarding how you’re doing, gentle palpations of your pelvic region to assess the uterus and make sure everything feels on par, taking various vital signs and running basic lab tests, listening to the baby’s heartbeat and so on.
However, while midwives work almost exclusively with pregnancy and postpartum mothers, OBs are seeing patients in a range of life stages and for a variety of conditions. We typically book many more patients in a day and while we prioritize quality of care, we simply can’t spend the same amount of time with each patient as a midwife can with her clients.
Depending on your choice and the way the midwifery practice is set up, you might also have the option of choosing a home birth or home visits throughout your pregnancy and the postpartum period. Midwives also provide more comprehensive care when it comes to your body and your baby, including attentive breastfeeding support after the baby’s birth.
Are you considering adding a midwife to your list of potential care providers for your pregnancy? We highly encourage you to explore all the options. We wholly support a collaborative effort between midwives and OBs and would be happy to discuss your options during a consultation here at Women’s Health Associates. Contact us to learn more, ask questions or to meet our labor and delivery team – midwives and all.