QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy birth, offering expert individualized care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle.
A midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. When the care required is outside the midwife's scope of practice or expertise, the woman is referred to other health care providers for additional consultation or care.
The Midwives Alliance of North America, the North American Registry of Midwives, the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and Citizens for Midwifery agreed on a short definition of what "midwifery care" means. However, just because a person is a midwife does not guarantee that they provide this kind of care; consumers looking for a midwife should ask questions to determine if a prospective caregiver will be able to provide the kind of care they seek.
What is the Midwives Model of Care?
The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.
The Midwives Model of Care includes:
- Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
- Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
- Minimizing technological interventions
- Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
- The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
How does a midwife differ from an obstetrician-gynecologist?
Midwives are trained to focus on understanding and protecting what is normal and natural in pregnancy and birth, while obstetricians are trained to focus on understanding and looking for complications. Obstetricians’ and gynecologists’ training and skills are best utilized on women with high-risk pregnancies, as opposed to the majority of women with normal pregnancies. A midwife recognizes pregnancy and birth as normal processes and believes that the education and empowerment of pregnant women are just as important as good prenatal care. While prenatal visits with an obstetrician typically last approximately eight to nine minutes, a midwife will spend 30 minutes to an hour with each patient.
I have a Midwife, do I need a doula?
A doula can be helpful no matter where you choose to birth or who your caregiver is. Not all women need a doula at their birth, but most will find them of great value for themselves and their partner at their birth. In fact, at Orero Birth we find the presence of doulas at births to be so beneficial, that all of our birth assistants and our midwife are trained doulas.