It’s National Midwifery Week! And I feel so lucky to have found wonderful care with practices of CNMs in two different states. Midwives have delivered my two children, have counseled me through miscarriages, have overseen two healthy pregnancies, have discussed my birth control options, have provided my well-woman care and have helped my family thrive. So without further ado: here are the top ten reasons why I love midwives.
1. They helped me facilitate the births I wanted.
I’ve given birth at a birth center and at home. I was nurtured in my unmedicated labors and midwives were crucial to facilitating the births that I wanted. Nothing was on their schedule or on their terms. It was truly a partnership between my family and their practice. They provided the safety, the educational support and from there, I was able to birth on my terms. This is not just true for out-of-hospital births. Midwives who attend birth in hospitals do this as well! I attended a labor as a doula. It was in a hospital; and the midwife and nurses were wonderfully reverent in the mother’s process.
2. They are cost-effective.
This sounds sort of cold, but we all know that healthcare costs in the US are exorbitant. Midwives help keep these costs down. Most women don’t need the surgical expertise of an obstetrician. Why drive a tank, when a bicycle will do? There are so many studies out there that show that midwives are much less costly than standard maternity care.
3. They listen.
Each of my visits with a midwife were at least a half an hour (and they were generally right on time!) There was time to get to know each woman who might be attending my birth and for them to get to know me. They knew my priorities, my concerns, my hopes. And they answered my questions and encouraged discussions. When I had questions about certain practices (the necessity of the erythromycin eye ointment comes to mind) they took the time to look up studies and discuss the pros and the cons.
4. I was an active participant in my health.
I had ownership over my health. They handed me my chart as soon as I arrived. I could read over the midwives’ notes. It was up to me to weigh myself, to take my blood pressure, to do urine strips. Every aspect of my care was transparent.
5. My care was personalized.
Everyone in the office knew me. They knew my kids, my husband, even my parents. Everything was so personalized and tailored to my needs. Having had miscarriages in the past, the office knew that once I had a positive test, I was eager to come in for my first visit. I saw a midwife at eight weeks, even though most clients don’t need to be seen until twelve. (And note the use of the word “client” instead of “patient.”) And my son got to help find the baby’s heartbeat at almost every visit. We all learned something when we walked through those doors.
6. They value women and all the strength and wisdom we have.
This sounds really touchy-feely. I know. I know. They are still medical professionals. But they’ve chosen a career path that serves women and acknowledges the central place of a mother in a family. They work toward healthy families, by providing holistic and compassionate care to mothers and women. It all goes hand-in-hand with their facilitating birth. I still remember how my sweet midwife made suggestions during labor, suggestions I ignored (namely to get up and move around), and she told me I knew best. She knew I was tapped in to some birth wisdom. I felt so empowered.
7. They are just as wonderful for well-woman care.
They listen. Have I mentioned this? I couldn’t make a decision about birth control. I went back and forth on what form, if any, would be best for me. I was given so much detailed information and counsel. Again, they knew me, they knew my family, and they wanted to help me make decisions that would benefit all of us.
8. With CNMs, you get the best of both worlds.
They are medically trained professionals. They have extensive training and education. But in so many ways, they are more than a healthcare provider. But, in my experience, midwives were so personable, so encouraging about the benefits of natural childbirth, it is more what you’d expect from a doula.
9. They have better outcomes in childbirth.
The studies are there. Women who receive care from midwives have fewer interventions, are more likely to have spontaneous onset of labor, are more likely to breastfeed, are less likely to deliver via cesarean. What is not to love?
10. For all the reasons listed in this video!
Put together by the American College of Nurse Midwives, this details the work that midwives do!