What Type of Care Does a Midwife Provide?

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Midwifery VS Medical?

Two distinct forms of care have developed for the treatment of a woman during pregnancy and childbirth; midwifery and medical. The midwife model of care views labor and birth as a natural process, while the medical model of care usually views pregnancy and birth as a process that requires intensive monitoring and possible medical interventions. Many women are now choosing to use midwifery instead of obstetrics during their pregnancy and birth.

What Is the Midwife Model of Care?

The midwife model of care views labor and birth as a natural process for the mother-to-be. While midwives do recognize that there can be complications that require medical interventions, they aim to help a mother through the childbirth process as naturally as possible. A midwife will take the time to understand the woman’s feelings, emotions and fears related to pregnancy and childbirth. While the midwife will ensure the mother and baby are both healthy during the pregnancy; she will also monitor the psychological well-being of the mother-to-be.  She will provide counseling and education to help the mother make informed choices regarding her childbirth.

What Does a Midwife Do?

Midwives view birth as a natural process that does not require medical interventions, unless absolutely necessary. The midwife will approach a mother-to-be with respect for her wishes throughout the pregnancy and birth. While each midwife may offer a different approach, women who see a midwife can usually expect the following:

During Pregnancy: The midwife will take the time to fully discuss all of the questions and concerns a woman has. She will give the woman personal attention and provide education, so the woman can make informed decisions. She will develop a trusting relationship with the woman and other members of the family, so she can provide support and information.  She will also help instill confidence in the woman’s ability to give birth. The midwife will monitor the mother-to-be and the baby, but will only order diagnostic testing if absolutely necessary.

During Childbirth: A midwife will assist in helping the woman deliver her baby. She will offer natural pain management techniques to help the mother cope with labor pains. She avoids the use of routine hospital interventions, including IV lines, epidurals and internal fetal monitoring. She will provide support and encouragement, so the mother can birth naturally. She also understands the need for medical interventions when there is a serious complication, and will refer the mother to an obstetrician or transfer to a hospital if necessary.

After Birth: A midwife will stay with the mother and her baby until they are both comfortable.  She will arrange a postpartum visit to check the health of the mother and will also assist with breastfeeding. She may also help the entire family adjust to life with a new baby, by providing support and information.

Benefits of a Midwife

Women who use a midwife during pregnancy and childbirth have a less chance of complications and medical interventions. A woman who sees a midwife will receive personal care and attention. The midwife will ensure both the mother-to-be and the baby are healthy, but will not use invasive testing unless necessary. She will show the mother and father-to-be respect, and will provide support, encouragement and information so the couple can make informed decisions.

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