A growing number of women opt for midwifery care in one way or another for their pregnancies and deliveries, which has increased the popularity of using a midwife. A fundamental midwifery theory and practice principle is being “with woman” (WW).
Top midwifery professional bodies have made statements highlighting the value of collaborating with women and delivering care that is woman-centered. Although midwives are best known for childbirth, they also see women of all ages for various health issues. Here are some questions you might want to know about midwifery care.
What Exactly is a Midwife?
- Midwives are women’s health care specialists trained to diagnose and treat various issues women may face. We can deliver babies and treat women’s health issues on our own. We adhere to established guidelines and employ evidence-based practices.
- If something unusual occurs during your pregnancy, we consult with an ob-gyn or a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and work with them to manage your care. In rare cases, we may refer you to a physician if we believe it is in your or your baby’s best interests.
- Midwives provide general women’s health care in addition to prenatal care and childbirth. This includes annual physicals, preventive care, and contraception advice.
What Makes Midwifery Care So Special?
- Midwives are staunch supporters of informed decision-making. We spend much time during exams educating you about your body and any changes you’re going through. We assist you in determining which tests or medications are appropriate for you.
- The decision to consult a midwife is entirely personal. Some patients prefer to see a midwife, while others may like to see one of our doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants.
Is it True that Midwives only Practice in the Home Setting?
- While some midwives provide home births, some midwives deliver babies in the hospital. Expectant mothers are also seen in the office for prenatal care.
Is a Doctor Required to Deliver My Baby?
- In most cases, you can have your baby delivered by a midwife. Midwives are trained to recognize problems and take appropriate action if they arise during labor.
- While midwives are licensed and independent providers, we collaborate with our doctor colleagues to ensure our patients receive safe care. When we admit you, we notify the doctor and keep them updated as your labor progresses. We involve them as needed if there is any indication of trouble. We invite them into your birthing space to assist in bringing your baby into the world safely.
Can Midwives and Doctors Order the Same Tests?
- During pregnancy, midwives recommend and order the same prenatal testing, genetic screening, and ultrasounds that doctors do. Many common medications, such as prenatal vitamins, allergy medication, birth control, and antibiotics, can be ordered. Midwives perform Pap smears and implant contraception. We can arrange for bone density tests, mammograms, and colonoscopies
Why Choose Midwifery Care?
- Midwives specialize in providing primary maternity care to clients with low-risk pregnancies, promoting normal childbirth, and the prevention of health problems.
- Midwives provide personalized care and support.
- Midwives respect clients’ right to make informed choices and view their clients as the primary decision-makers.
- Midwives respect pregnancy and birth as usual, natural events in a person’s life
- Midwives offer a choice of birthplace: offering birth at home or in a hospital.
- A small team of midwives provides care to ensure continuity of care – clients know the midwife who attends their labor and delivery
- Comprehensive postpartum care for clients and newborn supports the transition to parenthood with breastfeeding support and education on newborn care
- A client receives care from a small number of midwives.
- You will know the midwife who attends your labor and birth.
- Midwives provide safe and expert care to healthy clients and newborns.
What Does It Cost to Use a Midwife
- Midwifery services costs vary greatly based on paying cash, insurance coverage, and your specific needs during midwifery care. Speak with your midwife to get a better estimate of what midwifery care will cost you.
What Happens at a Prenatal Visit?
- During regularly scheduled visits to the midwifery clinic, midwives provide physical examinations and assessments, support, and information. Appointments are, on average, 30-45 minutes long.
- Prenatal visits are usually once a month for the first 28 weeks, every two weeks until 36 weeks, and then once a week until your baby is born. Most clients will see their midwife more frequently and for more extended visits than a doctor would do in the medical clinic.
What Happens at Appointments Once My Baby Is Born?
- Midwives provide care for clients and babies for six weeks after birth. Whether your baby is born at home or in the hospital, your midwife will provide care in your house within 24 hours of the delivery. Clients will have about six midwifery appointments during the six weeks following the birth, including several in the first few days and weeks.
- Midwives monitor the health of the client and baby and provide breastfeeding support. Midwives remain available by pager 24 hours a day, every day. After six weeks, clients are discharged from midwifery care and will see their family doctor for care.
- What Pain Relief Options are Available?
- Midwives offer a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options, including access to epidurals.
- Pharmaceutical pain relief can only be accessed at a hospital birth. Many clients who labor at home use water, massage, and other methods to relieve pain effectively.
Can Midwives Run the Same Kinds of Tests as Doctors?
- Yes. Midwives can arrange all routine prenatal testing, including ultrasound and genetic screening, as well as standard laboratory and diagnostic tests. Midwives discuss the results with clients and provide information and follow-up.
What Happens if there is a Problem with My Pregnancy?
- Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and birth and provide safe care for both parent and baby.
- Your midwife may consult a physician if a health concern or complication arises. If needed, your care is transferred to a physician (for example, in the case of a cesarean section).
- Your midwife will continue to provide support and resume primary care when possible.
- 5 Minute ReadMedically Reviewed by UPMCJuly 26, 2022. (2022, July 26). Frequently asked questions about midwives. UPMC HealthBeat. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://share.upmc.com/2020/02/midwives-faq/
- FAQ. Community Care Midwives. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://communitycaremidwives.com/faq.html