Many of you have expressed interest in my choice to have a midwife deliver my last baby and have questions and misconceptions about midwives. The number one question I got from people when I told them I was seeing a midwife was “are you having a home birth?” (NO), followed by “can you have an epidural?” (YES). So today I want to address some of your questions, and to start I have a guest post writer….my mom! She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (which means she has a Master’s Degree in Nursing) with more than 35 years of OB/GYN experience and she offered to provide some background information about midwives. I plan to share my personal experience with a midwife on Monday, so be sure to come back for more! If you have any questions please drop them in the comments of this post or email me at thegirlintheredshoes@gmail and I’ll be sure to answer them for you!
So now, I’m going to let my mom explain a little more about midwives!
Midwives are are excellent providers of health care services for women. Many people think of a midwife only as someone who assists women choosing to have a home birth. While some midwives do participate in home births, the majority do not. Many women do not understand the services midwives provide or the advantages of seeking care from a midwife. One area of confusion is the difference between a midwife and a doula. A midwife is a licensed and certified medical professional who provides total care for you during the prenatal period and the birth of your baby. A doula is not licensed or trained to provide clinical care. A doula is trained to be a support person and to advocate for you while you are in labor and during the birth process and the postpartum period. They DO NOT provide nursing care, medical treatment or deliver your baby.
In the United States, the majority of midwives are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) working in coordination with doctors providing care to women in clinics and hospitals. Greater than 95% of births attended by midwives occur in hospitals.
A CNM is a Registered Nurse with graduate education (Master’s Degree) in midwifery. CNMs are trained to provide women’s health care from puberty through menopause. They provide a level of care that is more personal and focused on the whole woman. Compared to doctors, midwives are likely to be less formal, to spend more time with you, and to provide education and support specific to your concerns. If you choose a midwife to provide care during your pregnancy, your midwife will work with you to identify the childbirth experience YOU desire and to provide the care and support you need to achieve your desired birth experience. Midwives approach pregnancy, labor and birth as normal processes and do not routinely use medical procedures if there is no clear need for them. The midwifery model of care is strongly supported by current research.
The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) is the professional organization that has developed guidelines for safe childbirth based on scientific knowledge, coordination of care between health team members and active involvement of women and their families. Visit the ACNM website for more information about midwives.
My experience with a midwife coming your way on Monday, so stay tuned!