Midwifery Care

Midwives Are Experts

Pregnancy and childbirth have an enormous impact on the health of women, newborns, and families, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socio-econonomically. Midwives are experts in normal birth and adept at ensuring excellent outcomes for women and infants. Midwives attend approximately 10% of births in the U.S. across all settings, including hospitals, birth centers, and home births. In every setting, midwife-led maternity care results in reduced infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, fewer medical interventions, decreased costs, increased savings, and improved client satisfaction.

Midwives Help Women to Make Informed Decisions

Midwives are committed to supporting women to make their own way through the maze of choices during pregnancy, labor, birth, and parenting. Midwives trust that women are smart, motivated, and capable enough to make well-informed choices once they are given the opportunity to review an array of evidence about prenatal, postpartum, and newborn care, and other reproductive health issues. True choice can only be made in the context of informed, unhurried, unpressured, well-considered, and empowered decision-makers. There are almost unlimited choices women can make surrounding their childbirth experiences. Choices range from from selecting prenatal education, to creating a nourishing pregnancy diet, to crafting a birth plan, to building a support team, to deciding where and with whom to give birth, to choosing health care providers for newborns, to incorporating cultural and personal rituals into birth and parenting. Midwives work in partnership with their clients in the decision-making process, assisting them in understanding the full range of options. Pregnant and parenting families make choices in the context of the rest of their lives because only they understand fully the complexities, pressures, and challenges under which they are living.

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. Midwifery care provides:

  • A familiar face at each appointment, and adequate time to ask questions and address concerns.
  • 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.
  • Individualized, culturally appropriate, family-centered full-scope prenatal services, and continuous care and support during labor and birth.
  • Informed consent and shared decision-making to best meet the values, needs, and priorities of each family during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.  
  • A skilled and knowledgable provider to facilitate healthy normal childbirth, assure comfort and safety, and to accommodate the needs of the family.
  • A collaborative care plan with obstetricians, pediatricians, and other specialists in the rare case where medical care for mother or baby is needed.
  • Nurturing postpartum care and support at home and the midwife’s office in the weeks and months after birth to help with breastfeeding and adjustment to a new baby and changes in the family.

Midwives Support Women’s Own Choices

A midwife-led birth gives a woman a measure of control generally unavailable with a physician-led hospital births—the freedom to move, eat, bathe, or whatever else might help her labor and birth more confidently. The role of a midwife is to monitor labor, guiding and supporting the birthing woman safely through the birth process. For many women, care with a midwife allows them to birth their way, safely and naturally, supported by the people they love. Many studies show that midwifery care through labor and delivery lowers complication rates and reduces the likelihood of unnecessary cesarean section.

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.

Midwifery Care is Empowering and Satisfying

Midwives hold the key to optimal birthing practices and cesarean prevention. Numerous studies have shown that birthing with a midwife significantly decreases the need for cesarean delivery and risk of premature birth. In addition, women and families who birth with midwives describe having a more empowering and satisfying experience. At this point in our national history, women and families deserve to not only survive childbirth but also enjoy it as a healthy bonding experience that will transform women and men into engaged, informed, and empowered parents of the children who will lead our next generation forward.

 

 

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