Before OB’s and hospitals, birth was an event (not a procedure) that happened to 2 people, the birthing person and baby, at home. During birth loved ones were present for support along with wise ones whose knowledge with much more than clinical. These wise midwife’s haven’t disappeared. Midwife care is a viable choice available today.
Debunking the Myths of Midwifery
-An OB knows more because they have a medical degree-
Educated care includes midwife care. Midwives are licensed and certified. Like Doctors, midwives are held accountable to professional standards. Birthing centers can get accreditations to meet insurance requirements.
-I’m safer at a hospital with an OB then under midwife care-
Midwives identify when labor needs medical intervention and discusses emergency procedures with the client prior to labor. They are able to monitor vitals of you and baby. Midwives know holistic interventions that might prevent the need for a C-section or sutures. First tier solutions are labor positions and belly manipulation. In a hospital setting you might have to advocate for them. In birth centers with midwives, the task of pain management is addressed with language, water, positioning, etc. Less chemical interventions mean less chemical exposure for baby. Birthing centers have close connections to local labor and delivery wards. For example, Austin Area Birthing Center (AABC), has agreements with St. David’s that allows midwives to accompany clients to the hospital. Midwives with AABC can access a special hotline to deploy an ambulance and trigger the preparation of a bed.
more data on the safety of birth centers including AABC can be found here
Benefits of Midwife Care
-Midwives are in a unique position to offer person centered, holistic care –
For far too many, pregnancy and birth is still something that happens to them rather than something they set out consciously and joyfully to do themselves – Sheila Kitzinger
It’s a difference of attitude. Midwifes guide and monitor an innate process. They understand each laboring person’s body has unique needs to progress. They encourage you to trust in the effectiveness of your own body to labor. Maternity wards are environments designed to be ready to intervene in the natural process.
Midwife’s tend to view birth as an emotional journey involving a physical process. Is there a better place then home to experience something emotionally profound? Midwives are champions for the autonomy of a birthing person. Where are you most likely to feel free to move your exposed body in whatever way feels progressive to you? At home. Home (or home-like) environments are places for relaxation after birth. Feeding how you want. You don’t have to worry about keeping baby swaddled or covered in a chilled hospital environment. You can move freely in your home without concern that the “allowed” person is the one watching the baby.
-Midwifery care as a bridge to an Improved Postpartum-
A midwife views birth as an event on a path that continues into postpartum. OB’s and hospitals can view labor and birth as endgame. In comparison, midwife care will include a limited number of postpartum visits and connections to after care resources. Midwives will connect you to providers like postpartum doulas who can help with things that are not part of the body physically recovering from birth. This idea for the need for a continuation of care means that places like birthing centers tend to offer classes or partner with providers like lactation consultants or physical therapists.