The Atlantic comments midwives are making a comeback. Midwives can provide prenatal care and assistance during labor and delivery, encouraging easier childbirth in low-risk pregnancies when invasive medical procedures are not needed. Hospital based midwives often avoid attaching a fetal heart rate monitor all the time to a woman. It is known that continuous fetal monitoring can be harmful because women tend to stay in bed and not move as much as women who are not tethered. Midwives are known to be more patient with the process of labor than are many other obstetrical providers and to focus more on communication and educating women. Births attended by a Nurse- Midwife have lower rates of unnecessary episiotomies, which is a surgical incision of the vagina, but they will do one if needed. They also have lower rates of artificially induced labor and have less vaginal lacerations. Midwives help women avoid pain medications by being fully present with them, reassuring, encouraging free movement during labor, supporting them with showering, immersion in warm water tubs, breathing exercises and varied birth positions to name just a few.
In the U.S. in 2013, 9% of births involved midwives as the main healthcare provider.1 We know that the number is actually higher, because if a midwife’s client needs a cesarean, it is only the name of the doctor who performs the surgery that goes on the Birth certificate.
Pregnant women in the U.S. who want a midwife involved during labor and delivery are often choosing to deliver in hospitals, but they may have a birth center in their area and often there are Nurse-Midwives or other qualified midwives who may offer home births. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) have received a graduate degree after extensive education in nursing and are legal in states in the U.S. In most countries in Europe, educated midwives are common healthcare providers. Consider a midwife for a safe and more personable birth experience for you and your baby.
- Santa Cruz, Jamie. Call the midwife. (2015, June 12.) Retrieved at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/midwives-are-making-a-comeback/395456/