I learned a few lessons from a midwife recently, when a midwife visited my class. I was not well informed about midwifery prior to her visit, and I am really glad that she came! Here are some interesting lessons from a midwife:
Like I mentioned, I did not have much knowledge about midwives, so this was one of the most important lessons from a midwife: learning about the types. Certified professional midwives give at-home births. It is an alternative form of midwifery. It clears up a lot of confusion about midwives and their jobs because a lot of people, including myself, think that midwives can only give at-home births.
This is another difference that is important to clear up. Certified nurse midwives, depending on where you live, may or may not need to be with a collaborating physician. Certified nurse midwives are in the system and are more able to create true political and cultural change.
Doulas are there for consistent emotional support. They try to advocate for you and you can become really close to your doula. Doulas’ roles are to make the mothers more comfortable and they do not have a clinical role.
Knowing about power tensions between doctors and nurses, I was interested to learn where midwives stood on that spectrum. From what I’ve heard, midwives try to really stand for the pregnant women, but when there is a physician present, it is expected that the midwife “step down.” The midwife who spoke in my class told us about an instance when she decided not to cut the chord, as the additional blood is good for the baby, and handed the baby to the mother. The physician spoke with the midwife immediately after about not dealing with this “professionally,” because she didn’t hand the baby over to the physician.
Midwives are more willing to drag their heels. They try to buy time for the women. Physicians are more liberal about pushing for cesarean section. The clock is ticking for the physicians. Physicians are told from their superiors to turn to C-sections when in doubt, as the hospital makes more money.
This is comforting to learn about. Midwives cannot perform the surgery alone, though. There is usually a lead surgeon and a first assist, which is sometimes the midwife. If the midwife isn’t assisting in the surgery, she is by the woman’s side, holding her hand.
The US spends a lot of money on trying to prevent infant mortality and mother mortality. The US ranks around 169th out of the 204 countries that collect these rates. So why is this happening? It is obvious that the US is spending a lot of time, energy, and money on this area because the US doesn’t want these deaths. And there are two suggested possible solutions: have midwifery care for everyone and limited intervention or have more natural births and fewer C-sections. Doctors should be given incentives for not giving C-sections.
These lessons that I learned from a midwife were truly fascinating. I knew nothing about their jobs and all these issues surrounding them. There are so many ethical and privilege problems. What are your thoughts? Did you know about any of this?
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