A midwife is a person who is trained to assist women in all aspects of pregnancy starting from prenatal care to baby delivery. The job of a midwife does not necessarily end with pregnancy, but it extends to baby care for some days.
Midwives offer you first class services that can improve your mental and physical conditions during pregnancy. They also provide services that include gynecological examinations, prescriptions, contraceptive counseling as well as birthing care. For any issue related to pregnancy, a midwife can offer you the much-needed support.
However, the services offered by the midwives depend on their level of certification. Other factors that determine their practice include licensing credentials and nature of restrictions imposed by each state. Midwives can deliver babies at home or birthing centers, but many deliver babies at hospitals.
Roles of a Midwife
Midwives play significant roles in offering support to women during their pregnancy. They also provide support after birth for about 28 days. With midwifery, there is no need of visiting a doctor if everything seems to be fine. Your midwife can only refer you to a doctor in the event of unexpected complications arising.
A midwife also plays a pivotal role in facilitating natural childbirth in the comfort of your home or a birthing center. Midwives usually work with local hospitals as s result of their expertise and professionalism. Your midwife provides care during different stages of your pregnancy just like a doctor.
However, the roles of doctors and midwives are different. Doctors usually intervene in case of the expecting mother experiencing complications. Midwives play all the basic functions in pregnancy such as providing family planning as well as preconception care.
A midwife also conducts prenatal exams to check the health condition of the mother to be if it is suitable for pregnancy. While some pregnancies can be accidental, real caring mothers plan their pregnancy to conceive healthy offsprings. If you plan your pregnancy, a midwife will provide the necessary information about maintaining good health during this period.
When you are pregnant, your psychological well-being is fundamental since it also has a bearing on the child. Mental health affects our welfare in many ways, and when you are expecting, you should try to live a stress-free life. Midwives play crucial roles in helping you maintain your health to promote proper development of the child.
When the midwife suspects that something is amiss regarding your health and diet, she can order tests from a physician. Midwives also play crucial roles in advising pregnant mothers about quality diet and other activities that can improve their health. For example, exercising is an excellent remedy that can help you remain healthy during and after pregnancy.
Preparing For Child Birth
Exercise helps you to flex your body muscles so that your body readies for delivery of the new baby. Natural birthing can be affected if the organs of your lower abdomen are not flexible enough to allow safe passage of the child. A midwife has expert knowledge about different factors that can affect the birthing experience of mothers.
A midwife also helps you to make birth plans so that you can adequately prepare for the arrival of the new baby. First-time pregnancy can be a challenge for many people since they will experience new things in their lives. A lot of physical changes to the body of a pregnant mother takes place, and she should be prepared to cope with them.
Labor is probably the most challenging period in pregnancy, particularly to first-timers. It is undoubtedly true that first-time childbirth is characterized by severe pain. Such experience is natural, and there is no way one can avoid it.
It marks a transition into motherhood, and it helps you to form a strong bond with your child. A professional midwife offers you moral as well as practical support during labor. Such kind of support can help you overcome the hurdles associated with pain when giving birth.
More importantly, a midwife delivers your baby in the comfort of your home. She directs the whole process and takes care of everything to make life easier for you during this challenging period. Midwives offer expert services that make your child delivery experience memorable whether at home or a birthing center.
Education And Counseling During Pregnancy
A midwife will offer you counsel about different elements related to pregnancy. Childbirth and newborn care are two significant aspects that require the support of an experienced midwife. A professional person in child care is open to teach you everything about good practices of looking after the baby.
Should the need arise, the midwife makes referrals to the doctor to save the mother and the child. In specific unprecedented scenarios, the mother may experience some complications that can also affect the child. In such a situation, this is where the doctor comes in, but the midwife is responsible for all pregnancy issues.
Midwives also provide reproductive education infertility, nutrition, breastfeeding as well as quality infant care. Exercise and the use of contraceptives after pregnancy are also other essential elements covered by midwives.
In other words, midwives represent both quality and economical options during the period of birthing. Technological interventions are not recommendable during pregnancy unless the mother experiences some complications. The philosophy of midwifery aims at offering the best results to all expecting mothers at reasonable prices.
Different Levels Of Midwives
Midwives get comprehensive training, and they should get certification after passing exams. In America, midwives are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). There are different levels of midwives depending on their training.
Certified Nurse-midwives (CNMs)
These are registered nurses with higher qualifications than the general accredited nurse-midwifery education. Midwives who belong to this category should pass a national examination so that they can practice in all 50 states. These nurses can also practice in the District of 8Columbia. A certified nurse midwife offers the comprehensive form of health care service to pregnant women.
Certified Midwives (CMs)
These midwives are non-nurses, but they are holders of a bachelor’s degree or higher in the healthcare field. These individuals should also have an accredited midwifery qualification and pass a national examination. Certified midwives are permitted to practice in just a few states.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)
CPMs have training as well as clinical experience in the area of childbirth, and they are non-nurses. These midwives can practice outside hospitals as long as they have accreditation. They should also pass a national examination, but not all states permit CPMs to exercise.
A lay midwife has no certification or license but has extensive knowledge in midwifery gained through apprenticeship and self-study. These are individual midwives who learned knowledge and experience through various sources. However, they are equally good just like other people with certification.
The Significance of a Midwife
A midwife plays a significant role in helping pregnant mothers achieve the goal of giving safe birth. The philosophy of midwifery is that the process of birthing should be natural as much as possible unless there are complications. For instance, the cesarean birth method should come when the natural process fails.
Fetal monitoring and labor induction are other practices not usually recommendable for birthing. Pregnant women need practical, emotional and social support that midwives offer. These are the best remedies to birthing, and they have no complications. As such, women who choose the services of midwives usually have no difficulties.
Childbirth gives you a powerful experience in life, and a midwife helps you realize your strength. Such a discovery is useful primarily to those transitioning into the stage of motherhood. Therefore, you need to contract a professional midwife who gives you the right support you need during pregnancy.
When contracting a midwife, make sure that she has the right qualifications and experience. You can approach a midwife of your choice directly to get professional services. If you feel that all is well, there is no need of seeing an obstetrician during your pregnancy or when giving birth. A midwife has all that you need to make your delivery a success.
Other Benefits Of The Services of Midwives
When you fully utilize the services of a midwife, there are many benefits that you can get such as reduced chances of a cesarean. The process of birthing should be as natural as possible, and it should not involve other labor methods like induction and augmentation.
Artificial methods of child delivery like cesarean are suitable in case of complications arising. However, these methods can cause further complications that can affect your pregnancy in the future. In other words, different forms of birthing apart from the natural way can deprive you the opportunity to conceive again in future.
The natural way of giving birth also helps in reducing child mortality. The risk of preterm delivery also declines through various forms of midwifery care from professionals with expert knowledge. You also stand high chances of experiencing a definite beginning to breastfeeding.
Some mothers often experience breastfeeding problems when it is their first time. These conditions are common, and you can easily avoid them by following the advice you get from professional midwives. When you use the services of a licensed midwife, it may not be necessary for you and your baby to have other medical interventions.
Midwives usually consult with obstetricians and other health care professionals, so they have quality knowledge about pregnancy and childcare issues. If you have high-risk pregnancy complications, it is essential to choose a convenient hospital with access to expert services.
Difference Between Midwife And Doula
Some people believe that a midwife and a doula are the same, but that is not true. A doula is a person, usually, a woman who offers physical, educational and emotional support to a pregnant mother. She provides support during pregnancy and after and her primary role is to help women get a memorable birthing experience.
A doula usually comes in to offer moral support when the baby is due, and they continue to help after birth. A pregnant mother requires different forms of support from a close friend. In other words, a doula is called a labor support companion.
She offers you the support and assistance you need during pregnancy which can be a challenging time. The expecting mother develops a relationship with a doula a few months before giving birth. The new relationship helps the expectant mother to get comfort
The mother can contact the doula via telephone, and she can ask questions related to pregnancy and child care. A doula provides information about different steps to take to overcome challenges that may arise during pregnancy. However, a doula does not offer any medical assistance to the expecting mother.
A doula usually knows different medical aspects related to labor and delivery. The midwife is responsible for the birth of the baby and other medical related assistance. Therefore, a doula is not a midwife since her role is to offer moral support to the expecting mother.
Source: Sarah Kamrath
A doula though can be close to the mother during birth to offer pain relief techniques. These techniques can include labor positions, massage as well as providing reassurance to the mother. The role of the doula is to help the mother achieve a positive and safe birth experience. Doulas use the power of massage to relieve stress and pain during labor.
After Birth Services
After birth, the doula continues to help the mother begin the breastfeeding process. She also encourages the development of a strong bond between the baby and other family members. A doula plays a significant role during birthing as well as offering necessary additional support.
You can choose a doula you feel comfortable with, and you can also freely express your feelings to her. Some doulas can offer physical support to the mother soon after giving birth like washing, cleaning, and cooking. However, you need to know that doulas charge different rates and it is essential to choose a person with the right attributes.