The Model of Care Matters
Social scientists who are experts in women’s health, reproduction, and maternity care have identified characteristics that define models of maternity care. In 1979 sociologist Barbara Katz-Rothman was the first to define the difference between the medical model and midwifery model of care. In 1992, medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd described the technocratic and holistic models of birth. Others have provided further clarification. Each model is different in terms of scientific, humanistic, economic and outcome efficiencies and deficiencies, as well as effect on providers and recipients of these models of care. What is important to note when reviewing models of maternity care is that each model relies on different skills, tools, language, underlying beliefs, interventions, and power relationships between patients and providers.
Midwives Model of Care™ Is Woman-Centered
The Midwives Model of Care™ is a fundamentally different approach to pregnancy and childbirth than contemporary obstetrics. Midwifery care is uniquely nurturing, hands-on care before, during, and after birth. Midwives are health care professionals specializing in pregnancy and childbirth who develop a trusting relationship with their clients, which results in confident, supported labor and birth. While there are different types of midwives practicing in various settings, all midwives are trained to provide comprehensive prenatal care and education, guide labor and birth, address complications, and care for newborns. The Midwives Model of Care™ is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives 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 and
- identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.
The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
(Midwives Model of Care definition is Copyrighted © by the Midwifery Task Force, all rights reserved)
Women Receive Personalized Care with a Midwife
What women love is that there is more to maternity care with a midwife than checking blood pressure, fundal height, weight and urine checks.
- You will see a familiar face at each of your appointments, and you will be given adequate time to ask questions and address your concerns.
- Your midwife is a specialist in pregnancy, birth and postpartum care who has designed a complete program of care to nurture healthy pregnancy, joyful birth and confident parenting.
- You will receive individualized, culturally appropriate, family-centered full-scope prenatal services, and continuous care and support during labor and birth.
- Your midwife will incorporate shared decision-making into your care so that you will feel informed and empowered to make good health decisions for you, your infant and your family.
- Your midwife has the skills and knowledge to facilitate healthy normal childbirth, to assure comfort and safety for you and your baby, and to accommodate your family’s needs.
- You midwife has a plan for collaboration with obstetricians, pediatricians, and other specialists in the rare case where medical care for mother or your baby is needed.
- You will receive nurturing postpartum care and support in your home and the midwife’s office in the weeks and months after birth as you adjust to your new baby and the changes in your family.
These are just a few of the reasons why women say they prefer maternity care with a midwife.
Healthier Outcomes, Healthier Communities
The safety and benefits of midwifery care have been proven again and again in countries across the world, including the United States. World Health Organization statistics show that births attended by midwives have lower infection rates, lower Cesarean section rates, fewer complications and healthier outcomes—thus, lower overall medical costs—than physician-attended hospital births. In addition, there is no difference in infant mortality between midwife-attended and physician-attended births for low-risk women. Countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand, which have the best birth outcome statistics in the world, use midwives as their main maternity care providers. The Midwives Alliance is committed to advocating for women’s access to a full-range of birth options. If you are a legislator, hospital administrator or health insurance policymaker, MANA can show you how the Midwives Model of Care ™ can benefit your constituents and your community.