An Overview of Midwifery: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by:
February 8, 2023
Pregnant woman with midwife

Midwifery is an incredibly important profession that is often overlooked. Midwives are essential to the healthcare system, providing a personalized and safe birth experience to expecting parents. Having a midwife means having access to experienced and knowledgeable professionals who understand the unique needs of those who are pregnant and their babies.

This overview of midwifery will discuss what midwifery is, why it is so essential, and the benefits of having a midwife.

What is midwifery?

Midwifery is a form of healthcare provided by trained health professionals to individuals during pregnancy, labor, and after the birth of their babies. Midwives specialize in normal pregnancies and births, providing care focused on holistic health, physical and emotional well-being, and empowering them to make informed decisions.

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who have completed a midwifery program through obtaining either a Master’s (MSN) and/or Doctorate degrees (DNP) and obtain national board certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

Midwives can provide a variety of services, including family planning and preconception care, prenatal exams and tests, physical and psychological health monitoring, birth plan advice, education and counseling, emotional and practical support during labor, hospital admission and discharge, and delivery of babies. They often work with an OB-GYN who provides consultation as needed.

Why Midwifery Is Important

Midwifery is integral to providing quality care for individuals during their pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum periods. According to the World Health Organization’s 2018 recommendations for antenatal care and care during childbirth, having midwives take the lead in providing care would be advantageous. Pregnant individuals prefer this “continuity of care,” which reduces preterm births by 24%.

Benefits of Having a Midwife

• Midwives provide a personalized and holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth. With their focus on natural processes and non-invasive techniques, midwives are trained to recognize and respond to complications in labor and delivery and can refer their patients to other healthcare providers when necessary.

• Due to their emphasis on natural processes, midwives often have lower cesarean birth rates and lower labor induction rates than doctors or hospitals.

• The presence of a midwife during childbirth has also been linked to reduced local anesthesia usage and fewer cases of third and fourth perineal tears due to their use of non-invasive practices.

• Midwives can also provide tailored care according to individual needs and preferences, which can be highly beneficial in terms of both physical and psychological outcomes during labor and delivery.

Studies have shown higher breastfeeding rates among parents who give birth with the assistance of a midwife.

• Having a midwife makes it a more cost-effective option than other healthcare providers while providing continuity of care throughout the pregnancy and birth process.

• Midwives can also provide gynecology and general wellness care.

If you are looking for a midwife for your pregnancy, you’re in the right place! At Northwest Women’s Clinic, we offer the best in obstetric and gynecological care from beginning to end. Wherever you are on your journey, we’re here to help. Contact us at (503) 416-9922 to schedule an appointment today.

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