5 Reasons to Choose A Midwife (and 1 Reason Not To)
Midwives are such excellent and varied care providers! From the time a young woman first bleeds to the time her bleeding stops for good, midwives can provide the information, care, and services she needs.
Midwives inform. We answer questions. We focus on nutrition and lifestyle choices that support wellbeing. And, best of all, we provide safe reproductive care in a calm, caring manner that encourages you to make decisions about your own body.
Yeah! Obviously, I’m all in when it comes midwives, and I hope you will be too.
Five Reasons to Choose A Midwife
Midwives have excellent outcomes.
Statistics around midwifery care have been collected for decades now, both in this country and internationally. The results are clear: for healthy women with healthy, normal pregnancies, midwifery care is just as safe as (and some studies show safer than) “standard” care. When you meet a midwife, feel free to ask her about her statistics. Most midwives will gladly tell you about how few women need surgeries, receive episiotomies or tear, and how many women successfully breastfeed and are highly satisfied with their care and birth experience.
Midwives help you in any setting.
Hospital? Yep. Birth center? Got that. Homebirth? Check.
Here in New Orleans, we’re quite fortunate! We have midwives who work in a hospital, in a birth center, and at home. You choose the setting where you feel safest and most comfortable, and there’s a midwife who will serve you there.
Midwives do it slower.
Midwives generally have a small caseload, which gives them the freedom to take their time with you. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you might be surprised how different it feels to have luxuriously long appointments where you can ask all your questions (even that one you feel awkward about!) and really feel comfortable with your care provider.
This pace carries over into the birth room, where midwives patiently wait for dilation and descent, and encourage you to birth your baby at your own speed. Patience leads to fewer surgeries, fewer tears, fewer drugs, more breastfeeding, and higher satisfaction. Sounds good, yeah?
Midwives are team players.
Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancies, low-risk vaginal births, and normal reproductive care. When a situation steps outside those boundaries (with hypertension or twins, for examples), midwives call in an OB/GYN or a lactation consultant or whomever it is you need. Midwives order ultrasounds, lab work, and routine testing, and will refer you to the appropriate specialist when needed. In other words, you’re not giving up the doctor who specializes in surgery and complicated births. Instead, you’re gaining the midwife who specializes in healthy, normal body processes.
Midwives order pap smears, STI screens, and birth control.
Not pregnant? No problem. If you haven’t had an abnormal pap smear in the last three years, you can get your annual exams done by your midwife. Need a new form of family planning? Talk to a midwife. She can help you sort through the options and find the right one for you.
And, ONE reason a midwife might not be for you ::
You have a higher risk situation and need more medicalized care.
As I mentioned earlier, midwives refer people with complications or higher risk situations to obstetricians and gynecologists. If you have a higher risk pregnancy or care need (with a severe or chronic illness, for example), you may choose to skip the midwife and go straight to the OB/GYN. In a perfect world, I think you’d still have a midwife to answer questions and help you through your decision making process. However, few of us have the time and money for both services if we know from the start that the midwife won’t deliver the baby.
I had a midwife for my first two children with planned homebirths for both. My first birth I ended up in the hospital (due to getting a fever during my labor) with a c-section, although I know I didn’t need one deep down. My second pregnancy I didn’t get a provider until I was 8 months pregnant because I was not happy with my midwife or back up doctor with the first birth. I didn’t know which direction to go. The midwife I found was a God send and willing to perform a HBAC (home birth after c-section) although it was illegal for homebirths midwives to deliver an HBAC. I am so grateful she took that risk with me because I had a successful homebirth with a healthy baby girl (she is 12 now!).
Currently I am trying to figure out my birthing care as I am 4 months pregnant with my third child. I really want a homebirth again, but there aren’t any midwives who will deliver HBAC even though I have had a successful vbac because of its legality. I believe it’s still illegal to deliver HBAC in the state of Louisiana. I’m considering traveling out of town when I get close to my due date to a region that will accept HBAC as legal and a midwife willing to take me. There are nurse midwives here in New Orleans that I would live to work with (I know them personally because I have done births with them as a certified birth doula) that deliver in the hospital but they can not allow me to labor as a vbac in their birthing center and without monitors. I really want to avoid the hospital setting as I am sensitive to my surroundings as I birth (don’t all women need to feel comfortable and relaxed in their birthing environment?). So if you could give advice I would love to hear it. Thanks for your attention!
Amazing post with amazing useful information. I had my first baby with midwife and it was marvelous experience and it is really safe too and I will love to have my 2nd baby with midwife only. 🙂
That’s interesting that midwives can you help at hospitals, birth centers and homebirths. I always had just associated them with homebirths. My wife wants a natural pregnancy, so we’re thinking about getting a midwife.