If you’re pregnant or are planning on getting pregnant, there are many decisions you’ll need to make during this exciting time in your life. Your pregnancy is a very special thing, and it’s important that your physical health and emotional well-being are monitored and supported to ensure that you and your baby are healthy and comfortable. One of the first things you’ll need to decide is whether you prefer to seek an obstetrician or midwife. There is no right or wrong here, and your decision should be based on your preferences and needs. Here’s what you need to know and what you can expect if you choose a midwife during your 9 month journey.
Midwives Are Qualified Health-Care Professionals
While obstetricians or OB-GYNs are currently the number one choice for healthcare during pregnancy, midwifery has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. A common misconception that some women have is that midwives are less qualified than OB-GYNs, but this is far from the truth.
OB-GYNs complete four years of medical school, followed by four years in a residency program, along with three years in a fellowship to specialize in gynecology. Most midwives earn a bachelor’s degree and go on to work as registered nurses. They then go back to school to complete a Master’s Degree program in Midwifery. These types of midwives are known as Certified-Nurse Midwives or CNMs. Like OB-GYNs, CNMs can prescribe drugs and pain medications.
It’s All About Your Approach
When it comes to choosing between an OB-GYN or a midwife, there really is no right or wrong choice. Most women who choose a midwife do so because they prefer a more natural approach to childbirth. This could include not being medically induced, not using medication during labor, and giving birth at home or a birthing center, rather than a hospital. Keep in mind, however, that midwives can prescribe and use medication if needed by the patient.
It’s important to also know that midwives only work with patients whose pregnancies are considered “low-risk”. This means that if complications are anticipated during your pregnancy, it’s considered “high-risk,” or you plan on having a c-section, it’s recommended that you choose an OB-GYN instead.
The Benefits Of Having A Midwife
Choosing to have a midwife is more like having another partner through your pregnancy. Because of the intimate bond that is formed between patient and midwife, most women report high levels of satisfaction with their decision. Here are some other benefits to choosing a midwife during your pregnancy:
- Individualized attention, longer prenatal visits and 24/7 care.
- Emotional support before, during and after labor and delivery.
- Immediate and round-the-clock medical attention.
- Reduction of anxiety for patient, partner and family members.
- Care for you and your baby for up to 6 weeks after birth.
- Availability in hospitals, birthing centers and private settings like home.
- Lower risk for complications, lower maternity costs and lower interventions.
- Increased chance for successful breastfeeding.
Utilizing Your Midwife To Your Advantage
During your pregnancy, your midwife will be there for you to rely on for advice, medical care and emotional support. Because midwives are likely to have less patients than OB-GYNs, they can devote a lot more time to their individual patients. It’s important that you take advantage of this and utilize your midwife to their utmost potential. You can count on your midwife to educate and assist you throughout your pregnancy, and answer any questions you may have. Your midwife will also advise and assist you when it comes to your lifestyle, like appropriately adjusting your diet and helping with overall nutrition. Your midwife will be regularly there to care for you and provide you with antenatal care, detect any problems and report them to a doctor if necessary and deal with any emergencies that may arise. An underutilized benefit of having a midwife is the support they can provide not just for mom and baby, but for partners and family members as well. Your midwife will guide you in choosing the setting for your delivery and support your decision. Because they are thought of as “natural birth experts,” you can rest assured that you’ll be fully prepared if you choose to have no medical intervention. Finally, your midwife is available to you for up to 6 weeks after you give birth. During this time, they will be there to assist you and teach you how to care for you baby, so that the transition into motherhood is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
At Dr. Anthony C. Quartell, M.D., & Associates, we offer our patients the option of choosing a midwife or an OB-GYN. You can learn more about midwives here.
If your daughter is getting ready to leave for college, or has already started classes, it is time for “the talk”. The talk is equally dreaded by teens and parents a like, but it is extremely important in ensuring your daughter is well versed in sexual health as she leaves the nest. You have most likely had the “birds and the bees” discussion when she was younger, but as your daughter leaves home for the first time in her life, the conversation needs to evolve.
Understand there is only so much you can control.
No parent wants to admit that they can’t control every decision their daughter is going to make once moving out. You can tell her not to have sex all you want, but you must understand that this doesn’t mean she won’t engage in sex. As her parent, it is your responsibility to guide her and explain to her why she should wait, but also let her know that she can confide in you.
By providing her with information, facts, and a little guidance, you will set your daughter up for a safe college experience. You cannot control whether or not your daughter decides to have sex in college, but you can give her all the facts and information to make her own, educated decisions.
Image via RehabReview
You might be thinking, “I thought we were talking about sex, not drinking!” Well, these two topics are often intertwined in college. By teaching your daughter about safe drinking practices, it will also aid in the prevention of her engaging in sexual intercourse that is often regretted the next day, and help her to make smart decisions. Some important topics to hit on include:
· Not overindulging in alcohol. Stop after a couple drinks.
· Never leave a drink unattended or take an open drink from someone you don’t know.
· Don’t give in to the pressure to “hook-up” during a party.
· Don’t allow a man to take you anywhere to be alone.
· Use the buddy system.
Make sure she knows it is her decision.
Regardless of the pressure she might feel so have sex, make sure your daughter knows she can say “NO” at any point. Whether she is dating someone, having a casual hookup, or in the middle of intercourse, make sure she knows that if she feels uncomfortable at any point, she can say “no”. And if her partner doesn’t listen to her, then she needs to tell someone. Sexual intercourse should ALWAYS be consensual, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Tell her the facts.
Sometimes the facts are alarming and scary, but your daughter needs to be aware of the statistics for herself and for her friends.
· 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college, but more that 90% of these cases go unreported.
· 1 in 4 college students have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
· STIs can still be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
The average student has 3-4 sexual partners- meaning you may not be the only one sleeping with them.
Image via Sexual Health
If your daughter does decide to engage in sexual activities, she needs to ensure that she is smart about it. With an alarming amount of STIs among college students, she needs to use protection. It only takes one sexual experience to pass on an STI, and condoms are the best defense against this- even with oral sex. If her partner doesn’t like using condoms, then you can bet he is not using them with any of his other partners, so don’t risk it.
Women also have to protect themselves against pregnancy. A condom will do the trick, but another backup method to consider is the pill. Make sure your daughter knows she can come with you with any questions about protection. She also should know that she could go to her campus health center at any time to get the information and resources she needs if she doesn’t want to get into the details with you. Don’t take it personally.
Finally, something you have a little control over. Make it of the utmost importance that your daughter goes in for a yearly gynecological exam. This will ensure that she does not have any STIs or more serious gynecological diseases.
Be there for her.
Tell your daughter that she can come to you with absolutely any questions. Establish an open dialogue and judgment-free environment so that she is compelled to be honest with you. Your daughter’s sexual health is a part of her overall health, so she needs the proper information when leaving the nest for the first time. Contact Dr. Quartell & Associates if you have any questions about our gynecological services.