Deciding to become pregnant is one of the most important decisions expectant parents can make, but it is only one step of the process. What happens after the pregnancy – delivery and birth – are the first of many other important decisions you will make as a parent.
How you chose to welcome your child into the world is completely up to your individual preference. While physician-attended births are still the norm in the United States, the demand for midwives is on the rise.
Though the perception of midwives has evolved over the years, there is still confusion and misinformation regarding their role in women’s health care.
Myth #1: Having a midwife is old fashioned.
Midwifery has been practiced throughout history, but has changed and advanced especially in the last few decades. Through their specific focus and advanced education, today’s midwives are among the most modern, forward-thinking health care professionals. Midwives don’t just deliver babies anymore. They provide a more personalized approach to women’s health, serving as teachers, counselors and support systems during every stage of care.
Myth #2: Midwife care is inferior to traditional hospital care.
Of all the midwife-attended births in the United States, 95 percent are with certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs). In order to practice midwifery, both CNMs and CMs are required to hold a master’s degree and pass a certification exam. Though their education has equipped them with the knowledge and resources to deliver comprehensive care to expectant mothers, midwives collaborate with an obstetrician physician leader if and when it is necessary.
Myth #3: Midwives only deliver babies at home.
Midwives deliver care in a variety of settings. Beyond a person’s home, a midwife can practice in hospitals, medical offices, free-standing birth centers, clinics and other private settings. Approximately 90 percent of CNM- and CM-attended births take place in a hospital. Many hospitals will offer in-house midwifery services to provide convenient care to mothers who wish to deliver in a hospital setting.
Myth #4: A midwife only assists in natural births, without the administration of pain relief medication.
Midwives are here to help each woman understand her options. While your midwife has the skills to provide physical and emotional support during a natural birth, he or she is also there to accommodate your unique needs, including the use of epidurals and other forms of pain relief, upon request.
Myth #5: Midwife services are only used during pregnancy and birth.
Certified nurse midwives are your lifetime partner in health and wellness, providing care and support throughout each stage of a woman’s life. In addition to providing care to a woman during pregnancy and birth, most midwives also provide primary care related to women’s health such as gynecological exams, screenings and vaccinations, fertility counseling, family planning and menopausal care. At UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, all medical consultation, collaboration and referral are in accordance with the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery, as defined by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
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From the time you become pregnant to the moment you take your newborn home, the Certified Nurse Midwives at UnityPoint Health – Des Moines are here to ensure a safe and personalized birth experience for your whole family, as well as provide the resources and information to help you reach the healthy future you desire. To learn if partnering with one of our compassionate and experienced midwives is the right choice for you, please call Midwife Services at (515) 309-6011 or contact us online today.