Midwives are becoming more popular in the United States. The American medical system has typically not included many midwives, despite their popularity in Europe. In fact, 75% of babies are delivered by midwives across the Atlantic as compared to 10% in the United States. However, as American women have started to become more interested in the natural birth experience and home birthing, the number of midwives assisting with delivery is rising.
With that being said, you might have questions about what a midwife does, especially if you’re used to the OB/GYN-guided system that most American women experience. How, exactly, does a midwife help you during delivery, and what should you be prepared for if you decide to take this route?
Are you pregnant and interested in working with a midwife during your pregnancy? If so, the health experts at Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery can help with obstetrics and midwifery services. In this blog, our providers explain the midwifery process and the role a midwife plays during delivery.
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a trained and experienced health professional who helps a pregnant woman before, during, and after childbirth. Most midwives work with low-risk pregnancies for moms-to-be who want to avoid surgical intervention, epidurals, pain medications and/or drugs that induce labor, if possible.
Midwives are not doctors. This means that they can’t perform surgeries, but they can write prescriptions for epidurals and labor-inducing drugs. Many midwives work with preferred hospitals and birthing centers. Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery’s preferred hospital is Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley in Westwood, New Jersey.
Like any big medical event, getting ready for delivery takes a lot of careful planning. Midwives offer prenatal medical care as well as holistic care to help keep your mind and emotions well. In this way, they can serve as a counselor as your pregnancy progresses. A midwife will also help you make a birth plan, including where you would like to deliver, how you would like to deliver, and how you want to manage pain once that becomes a consideration.
A midwife will provide support throughout the entire labor and birth process. This can include:
- Giving information, encouragement, and emotional support
- Monitoring progress and suggesting strategies to help during labor
- Monitoring the baby's heartbeat and vital signs
- Offering you pain relief or arranging for a doctor to administer it
- Getting extra medical help if needed
The role of a midwife also depends on location. In a hospital or birthing center, a midwife will work with your obstetrician and defer major medical decisions to them. With an at-home birth, the midwife will control the whole process unless medical treatment is deemed necessary.
Midwives also provide support after birth. A big benefit of using a midwife is having a professional who knows you and your family and can help you through the first weeks of motherhood.
A midwife can teach you how to breastfeed, change a diaper, settle your baby, and bathe them. In the same way that a midwife supports you before birth, they are an excellent source of advice and care after delivery.
To learn more about midwifery, book an appointment online or over the phone with Holistic OB/GYN & Midwifery today.