I love my midwife! With Logan, my first child, she was absolutely wonderful. She was there for the majority of the time I was in labor, and she was much more a friend than a doctor. With the child I'm currently carrying, I've once again chosen a midwife because I couldn't see it any other way. I recommend to anyone who is pregnant to see a midwife, but as for you, my readers, I'll let these 7 facts about midwifery speak for me.
For many years in ancient times, seeing a "doctor" for the birth of your baby was unheard of. Midwives, who had learned to deliver babies strictly by experience, were the only ones there was to call. They were more of a mother figure than a doctor, and were there to comfort you, coach you and take care of you through your birthing experience. Although, today, midwives do have medical training, much of the rest of these facts still remain true.
Because midwives are open and honest with you about the risks of c-sections and scheduling early births, there are far less c-sections that take place with the patients of midwives. As you may know, midwives are not equipped with the ability to give c-sections, and in the event of an emergency, they must turn you over to a doctor for a c-section. However, these days, many doctors are more quickly and easily persuaded to induce delivery early via c-section than a midwife. She knows the risks of delivering a baby too early, realizing that every day in the womb is much better for your baby's well-being.
To my knowledge, doctors no longer make house-calls. That isn't true with midwives. They'll come and set up for your birth right in the comfort of your home. You can even choose to have a water-birth at home. Many woman talk about this being the most wonderful experience. Since my baby was several weeks early, I had to go to the hospital for my son's birth, but I think this would be a wonderful, relaxed experience.
Your midwife wants what you want. You have the liberty to choose the position you give birth in - much more so than in the case with doctors. Want to try on all fours? How about squatting? You're not forced to place your feet in the uncomfortable stirrups if you don't want. My midwife said she's actually been half under a woman giving birth, just to catch the baby! They'll go out of their way to do things your way.
Doctors tend to come in check you and leave until it's time to, once again, come in, catch the baby and leave again. A midwife, on the other hand, is there with you more through the entire process of labor and delivery. Many of them will coach you through contractions and some even rub your back when you need them to. Your midwife is more than just the doc who delivered your baby, she's a friend who experienced the journey with you.
In many areas of the U.S. there is now something called "centering." Personally, I love it, and I'll tell you why. Centering is a group visit, in place of your usual doctor's visits. You're not checked for dilation or anything like that. You simply go in at a set day and time every month, (then twice a month closer to delivery) meeting with a group of ladies due around the same time you are and your midwife. You get to weigh yourself and take your own blood pressure, which you relate with the nurse, then go behind a curtain to hear the baby's heartbeat. After all that is taken care of, you sit in a circle and discuss your pregnancy-related issues and how to deal with them. It's great because the other ladies can relate to what you're going through, and you quickly become friends through the process. They even discuss things like breastfeeding and birth control options for after the baby is born! You're fully informed on everything dealing with pregnancy and after! Centering is only done with midwives and has been proven to cut down the rate of pregnancy related health problems and preterm labor. If you have to see the midwife for a personal concern or to be examined, after the meeting, you're taken to your own private exam room. What I love most about this however, is from the beginning, I know the time and date of every appointment I'll have through my pregnancy, up until maybe the last couple, when possible dilation is checked. How cool is that?
In 1952, there was an act that prohibited men from being actual midwives, but the 70's saw to it that this could no longer be enforced. In 1977, the first men were trained for midwifery. Though I am not for certain how many male midwives currently practice in the United States, there are drastically few in comparison to female midwives. Personally, (no offense to men) I prefer to have a female midwife, because they're more apt to be understanding in the area of childbirth. A male simply can't associate with the pain of childbirth - it's a fact of nature. However, kudos to the men who are willing to take part in such a wonderful thing as the birth of a precious child!
As my article probably shows, I am partial to midwives over doctors in childbirth. Myself, and many family and friends have experienced the midwife birth experience and found it to be very rewarding. However, I would love to hear your take on this subject. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment!
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