Supernatural stories and parables are not the only types of myths. Myths continue to exist in modern culture because they frequently contain rich symbolic content and have a powerful cultural impact. Myths in midwifery is a misguided or distorted view of maternal-related issues arising from unknown circumstances.
In midwifery, people often think that midwives are women who help mothers-to-be give birth at home without any medical intervention. Although this may have been a correct definition in the early days, certified midwives today are highly skilled professionals who perform more than just helping women give birth.
The Truths About Midwives
Despite being around for centuries, midwifery is still a mystery. It must be clear what services midwives provide or how they are paid.
These myths are most prevalent about midwifery:
- Myth: Midwives need formal education. Most certified nurse midwives in the United States have a master’s in nursing or another related field. CNMs must also pass a national certification examination and renew their licenses every five years to keep their knowledge current. These exams are also required for midwives who do not hold a nursing license. They must pass the national certification exam and renew their licenses every five years. Certified Midwives can practice in 12 states across the US with similar educational training to CNMs. Certified Professional Midwives, Licensed Midwives, and Direct Entry Midwives thrive in the community setting (birth center and home births) with more of an apprenticeship structure and educational training that can take 3-5 years to complete.
- Myth: Midwives don’t take insurance. Most midwives can bill insurance if they choose to for care. They typically provide care for women in a hospital setting or private practice. It’s essential to check with your insurance to verify coverage and to determine if a client requires a referral.
- Myth: Midwives care only for pregnant or postpartum women. Midwives can care for women all their lives. Weatherly explains that the term “midwife” means “with women.” “As midwives, we are trained to address all issues that affect women.” This includes screenings, vaccinations, contraceptives, and treatment for STDs and
- Myth: Midwives don’t prescribe medication. Midwives can prescribe medication, from birth control to HRT and everything in between. Weatherly states that midwives also try to provide enough support for pregnant women so they need fewer interventions during birth. They will assist patients with pain management during labor and delivery by positioning, relaxation techniques, and other strategies. Most states allow CNMs to prescribe medication for moms-to-be who need it.
- Myth: Midwives provide only home birth care. Weatherly states that the term “midwife” still connotes a woman who can carry incense, garlic, and herbs and catch babies at home. This is far from the truth. The vast majority of midwives’ deliveries are in hospitals. A midwife can help ensure a positive birth experience in a safe hospital setting.
- Myth: Doulas and midwives are one thing. Doulas do not have the status of medical professionals. Doulas are trained to support workers who advocate for pregnant women and provide emotional and physical support during labor, delivery, and sometimes after childbirth. Midwives provide support for both mother and baby and emotional and physical support.
A midwife partner doesn’t necessarily mean that nurses and doctors are not included in the partnership. CNMs, CMs, CPMs, and other healthcare professionals work together to ensure that all patients, including those with high-risk status, receive the care they require, whether it states that this type of collaborative care between midwives and physicians offers the best of both — advanced obstetrics and hands-on support.
Midwives can also provide support for women, such as perinatal screening or treatment options during menopause. Even if you’re not pregnant, you can partner with a midwife to provide your gynecological services. This will allow you to establish a trusting relationship with someone who can care for you at all life stages.