Here at Overlake OB/GYN we are proud to offer well-rounded care to our patients and this includes a staff of compassionate and dedicated midwives. Years ago, midwives were a normal attendance at virtually every birth in cultures all over the world. The industrial revolution also industrialized modern medicine and within a matter of decades, midwives were virtually phased out of modern Western medicine.

5 Common Questions About Midwives and Midwifery Care

However, we’re beginning to see that viewing birth as a natural process – rather than a disease or condition that needs to be “fixed” – has a positive effect on both the laboring mother and her baby. As such, midwives and midwifery care are becoming common household terms.

Here are some of the most common questions we’re asked about midwives and midwifery.

  1. What is a midwife? The term midwife means “with woman.” In cultures around the world, midwives are the ones who have assisted women through their pregnancies and the delivery of their babies since time eternal. Where OB/GYNs are trained in all aspects of female reproductive health – as well as surgical procedures used to treat reproductive medical conditions – midwives are focused more intensely on the well-being of mother and baby through pregnancy, birth and the immediate post-partum period. There are several certifications required of practicing midwives and these range from direct entry midwives to Certified Professional Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives.
  2. How is midwifery care different than an OB/GYN’s? As hinted at above, OB/GYNs are medcally trained to care for women from the time they begin menstruating through menopause and beyond. In most cases, while a midwife can do pelvic exams, pap smears and breast exams as well as provide information regarding menopause, her focus is typically on pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. She is trained to be both an educator, facilitator and sometimes partner to the woman who is about to give birth. Also, OB/GYNs may have multiple patients in labor at the same time. In most cases, a midwife structures her schedule so she can give her undivided attention to the mother for her entire labor. If she has more than one mother in labor at the same time, her assistants and/or another midwife will take over so the mother has the same level of care she has signed up for.
  3. What Is the Midwives Model of Care? The Midwives Model of Care states that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes and includes the following practices:
    –  Monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery and the post-partum period.
    –  Providing individual prenatal care, including education and counseling. Many midwives provide their clients with their contact information and are available 24/7 to answer questions and provide reassurance.
    –  Giving continuous hands-on support during labor. Midwife assisted births often allow mothers with more freedom of movement and positioning than traditional hospital births.
    –  Minimizing the use of technological and drug-related interventions, which often keeps mother and baby happier and healthier throughout the labor and delivery process.
    –  Identifying and referring women and/or pregnancies that appear to be high risk for more specialized obstetrical observation.
    –  Assisting with post-partum mother and baby care as well as lactation assistance if needed.
  4. Who will deliver my baby? Well, in the midwifery model of care, the mother is the only one in labor and the rest of us are here to assist with the process. In most cases, if you have chosen a midwife as your primary care provider during your pregnancy, it is your midwife who will “catch” your baby when he/she is born. As OB/GYNs, we will only intervene if the midwife has indicated that the mother or baby are at risk or showing signs of distress.
  5. If I have a midwife, does that mean I can’t have medical interventions? No, it doesn’t. Midwives want you to have complete control of your birth. If you greatly desire a completely natural birth and then decide you want an epidural or other pharmaceutical pain interventions, your midwife will help you get what you need to be as comfortable as possible. However, statistics show that midwife-assisted births have reduced incidences of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section as well as both technological and pharmaceutical interventions. The concentrated assistance of a midwife allows many women to birth without any interventions at all.

Are you interested in learning more about the midwives here at Overlake OB/GYN? Contact us and schedule an appointment and we will be happy to talk more about your prenatal, labor and delivery options.