What To Expect From A Midwife During Your 9 Month Journey
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.