More and more American moms are relying on midwives to provide prenatal care services and delivery. In 1989, US births with a midwife as the primary caregivers only constituted 3% of total births. By 2014, 12% of total vaginal births were attended to by midwives. The rise in popularity stems from the natural and holistic care approaches that midwives offer to expectant and post-term mothers.
Midwives offer engaging and personalized care through a model of care that includes:
- Monitoring of physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of mothers during and after pregnancy.
- Offering individualized education and counseling on prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postnatal care.
- Minimal technological intervention during birth, with complications, referred to board-certified Obstetrician Gynecologists.
Types of Midwives
A midwife is a healthcare professional trained in the management of lifelong care for women from adolescence to post-menopause. However, most midwifery services tend to focus on prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postpartum care. They undergo comprehensive training and later certified by either the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM.)
- Certified Nurse Midwife: This is a registered nurse that specializes in midwifery and is certified by the ACNM. The healthcare worker has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and an additional Masters specialty in Midwifery.
- Certified Midwife: A non-nurse that is trained and licensed by the ACNM. This healthcare professional has to have a Bachelor’s degree in Midwifery from an accredited institution and pass the certification exam.
- Certified Professional Midwife: The healthcare worker is trained on midwifery and meets the requirements for certification by the NARM.
- Direct-Entry Midwife: The midwife is self-trained through apprenticeship or formal training through a recognized midwifery school. They usually specialize in home-births and birthing centers.
According to The American Midwifery Certification Board, there were 12218 certified nurse-midwives and 102 certified midwives as of February 2019.
Benefits of Using a Midwife
The growth of midwifery services comes on the backdrop of countless research papers published that show midwives are associated with high-quality care. Recipients of midwifery care report improved patient satisfaction, lower cost of healthcare, and reduced cases of unnecessary medical interventions.
One of the benefits of having a midwife at your side during pregnancy and childbirth is the increased control over your health choices and decisions. If you choose to have an unmedicated birth, the midwives will support your decision and help you prepare accordingly.
Additionally, midwife services offer flexible payment options that provide easy access to affordable healthcare for you and your baby. Most practices accept a wide range of insurance covers, including Medicaid, thus lowering the cost for you.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, some additional benefits to midwifery care include:
- Reduced risk of requiring a Caesarian birth and episiotomy.
- Reduced rates for induced labor.
- Decreased use of regional anesthesia.
- Reduced cases of third and fourth-degree perianal tears.
- It has decreased infant mortality rates.
- Reduced risk for pre-term delivery.
Midwives offer practical guidance to mothers that help them make informed choices on their pregnancy and delivery. Midwifery offers safer and affordable options to expectant moms with greater control of decisions affecting their health and well-being.