Originally Posted by kaspar
what a midwife can do that you can't: [...]
our midwife appointments lasted a good 45 minutes to an hour each time... lots of time to ask every question that popped into our heads [...]
my husband (who suggested uc... just after we got to the hospital when we were alone for a moment between contractions
good timing honey!) would probably have fainted if the midwives weren't there with their calm and competent demeanour filling the room. [...] i had a bit of tearing, they stitched me up. maybe you *could* do that yourself? i don't have the flexibility or the nerve though! [...]they cleaned up [...] my bag of waters never broke - i pushed for a while and finally they said "you know, if we popped your bag, the baby will have room to drop and it will probably go more quickly." there was no pressure from them at all to do it, but i was happy to make things go more quickly at that point! lo was born just a couple of pushes later. maybe you could do that yourself, though? [...] they gave me a shot to help push out the placenta - and honestly, i don't think i would have had the energy otherwise! [...] i had a really easy birth, but just a minute before he was born lo's heartrate dropped, and when he was born the cord was already kaput. i have often wondered... could something have happened? was that no big deal, or were we really lucky? i guess we'll never know, but i'm glad i had two pros around just in case there had been issues. [...] anyway, those were the things that midwives did for me that i couldn't do for myself.
From a UC perspective some of these things are not necessarily issues.
-I definitely found it valuable to have sources I could go to for information, and a midwife can be an excellent source for that, but there are also other ways to find that information, and midwives are not infallible.
-A lot of UCers have found that their husbands who were previously nervous wrecks in their attended births were like totally different people at their UCs. For some men, the clinical/professional element is quite intimidating and stressful. With my husband, the difference was dramatic.
-Small tears are sometimes best left to heal on their own without stitching. For deep tears, some use medical grade superglue. Some midwives don't do stitching for very bad tears or at all and refer you to a doctor anyway. I'll grant you though that I'd rather have a trusted, skilled midwife do the stitching than a doctor.
-Intervention in the hopes of making things go easier or quicker is certainly one reason people hire midwives. I personally wouldn't break my own bag of waters, but I wouldn't want a midwife to do it either.
-It can be hard to push out the placenta when you've just had the baby.
With my first I was so tired and couldn't believe the midwife wanted me to push right away again! I joked, "can't you just do it for me?" (She didn't think it was funny.) I just wanted to fall back on the bed and relax. Birth attendants often start getting antsy if the placenta isn't out immediately so they want you to work
on getting it out at a certain specified time, like you're supposed to work on getting the baby out at a a certain specified time. But neither is normally necessary and just exhausts the mother. To direct and/or induce third stage can even be counterproductive and be the cause of complications. For my other three I did relax fully after the birth. I took my time. And at some point (I believe when the placenta detached) I became physically restless and my consciousness shifted from the baby to dealing with the placenta. My body prepared me hormonally for that so it wasn't some big effort -- it was just what I felt like doing -- but it needed time to do that. Most women don't experience that because they're told to push the placenta out before their bodies are really ready for that stage to be over.
-One reason women have professional attendants present is to deal with natural complications. One women don't have professional attendants present is to prevent iatrogenic complications. They're both valid concerns.