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.