What is a midwife?
A midwife is a trained health professional who provides care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. They offer holistic, individualized care to healthy women through all stages of their pregnancy. Midwives understand that pregnancy and birth are natural life processes and aim to provide woman-focused care using minimal medical interventions. Midwives are sensitive to the needs of mothers and provide exceptional attention to the clients they work with. They view pregnancy and birth as a natural, beautiful process and deeply respect the women they work with. A midwife uses her medical and interpersonal skills to empower women and allow them to have the most positive birth experience possible.
Are midwives like nurses?
While midwives are trained health professionals, not all midwives are considered nurses. There are a few different types of midwives, and their levels of training vary from informal education to registered nurses. The midwives featured from Hurley Medical Center are all certified nurse midwives, meaning they have the highest educational and training level a midwife can attain. There are a few different titles midwives can have and it is important to understand the difference when choosing a midwife.
Not All Midwives Are The Same
Certified Nurse Midwife: This person is a registered nurse who has graduated from a nursing midwife educational program and passed the national midwife exam. They are recognized as professional midwives nationally and are able to work in hospitals. Nurse-midwives provide the most comprehensive level of care to their clients.
Certified Midwife: This midwife has a degree in some type of health field, but is not a registered nurse. They have completed a midwifery program and have passed a national exam, however only a select few states allow certified midwives to practice.
Certified Professional Midwife: This person has the training and clinical experience with childbirth in a non-hospital setting, yet is not a nurse. Although they have passed a national exam, certified professional midwives are not allowed to practice in all states.
Lay Midwife: This type of midwife has the most informal education and training. They are also not typically certified or licensed. While certain states allow lay midwives to become licensed, most states do not.
What are the benefits of having a midwife?
One of the benefits of working with a midwife during pregnancy and delivery is that they provide care that encompasses the woman’s entire being. They get to know the woman, her support system, and how to give her the best birth experience possible. Midwives focus on providing women with compassionate, evidence-based and holistic care. It has been found that having a midwife lowers the woman’s risk of needing a cesarean section during birth, decreases the amount of serious tearing, and lessens the need for labor induction. Women who have worked with a midwife report a more positive birth experience than those who have not used a midwife.
Who should go to a midwife for their birth experience?
Women who want to experience a natural, holistic birth should consider seeing a midwife. Typically, women who choose to work with midwives want minimal medical intervention as well as someone to support them throughout their pregnancy and after labor and delivery. A midwife would be a great match for women who have experienced little to no complications with their pregnancy.
To learn more and get connected with a midwife, visit www.hurleymc.com/services/women/hurley-midwifery
Published Kudos magazine 5.3