How do you imagine your birth experience? Will you choose a midwife or OB/GYN? Do you want to deliver at a hospital or in the comfort and familiarity of home? Will you want to utilize medical intervention or will you go about it au natural? These are some of the most important decisions you will have to make when preparing for the safe and healthy arrival of a newborn baby. As you begin to weigh your birth options, take a look at these five things you may not already know about midwifery to learn if choosing a midwife is the right decision for you and baby.
1. Most midwives are formally educated and highly trained.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) make up 95 percent of all midwife-attended births. In order to practice midwifery, both CNMs and CMs are required to hold a master’s degree and pass a nationally recognized certification exam. Licensed midwives are formally educated and highly trained to provide comprehensive emotional and physical support, as well as breastfeeding counseling, during normal pregnancies and birth.
2. The majority of midwife-assisted deliveries happen in the hospital.
When some people hear of someone using a midwife, they might automatically assume that person will have that baby at home. While it’s true that many midwives practice home births, most deliveries by certified-nurse midwives actually occur in hospital settings. In fact, approximately 96 percent of nurse-midwife deliveries happen in a hospital, where obstetrician physicians are always nearby if a C-section is needed or a complication arises during pregnancy.
3. Midwife services are on the rise.
Despite being one of the oldest practiced medical fields, midwifery is thought to be one of the most modern, forward-thinking health care professions. Though physician-attended births are still the majority, the demand for midwife services has nearly doubled in the last two decades. In fact, approximately 300,000 births were attended by midwives last year alone, accounting for nearly 7 percent of all births in the United States.
4. Midwives can administer pain relief medication during birth.
Midwives believe that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes and prefer to minimize technology and intervention in normal, healthy births. Nurse-midwives typically address labor pain by focusing on natural comfort measures, such as hydrotherapy, massage, birth balls and relaxation techniques. While most midwives will rely on these natural methods first, certified midwives respect your right to choose medical intervention and are able to prescribe pain medication and administer epidurals when necessary or requested.
5. Certified nurse midwives provide more than just pregnancy and birth care.
Certified nurse midwives don't just provide care for women during pregnancy and birth; they offer ongoing preventive health care services to women of all ages and stages of life. Nurse midwives view each woman as a whole person and encourage patient-empowerment in every health care decision. Beyond providing a more intimate and personalized birth experience, certified midwives are also qualified to provide primary care services related to women’s health issues, such as gynecological exams, screenings and vaccinations, fertility counseling, family planning and menopausal care.
Looking for a Trusted Midwife in Waterloo, Iowa?
Deciding what kind of health care provider will deliver your baby is a big decision to make. While there are benefits to choosing both obstetricians and midwives, it is important you make the decision based on your personal needs. Wherever you are along your journey to welcoming your bundle of joy into the world, the certified nurse midwives at UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital are here to discuss all of your options in a manner that supports your birth wishes and partners with you during this exciting new chapter of life. To start your journey to motherhood with one of our leading nurse midwives, please contact (515) 235-3620 today.