Before hospitals were erected and maternity units were built, mothers gave birth at home with the assistance of midwives. This area of medicine is ancient, intimate, and rooted in the mystical nature of womanhood. Although many cultures have their own version of midwifery, in the U.S., midwives are actually trained medical professionals who deal almost exclusively with mothers and infants. They can help mothers to have assisted home births, comfortably and safely. Many people who become trained as midwives either already worked in the medical field, or they generally are familiar with obstetrics and gynecology via self-taught knowledge. Midwifery involves a much more holistic approach to female-oriented medicine, so this is another element that attracts practitioners to the field.
There are all kinds of motivating factors for becoming a midwife. Some women feel that they could make a positive change in the lives of other women by becoming midwives. There are midwives who come from a long line of midwives, from grandmother and mother to daughter and granddaughter. Midwifery involves the use of tinctures, and teas, and breathing techniques, and simply a more natural approach to healing and enduring cramps, childbirth, breastfeeding, and so on. Sometimes prescription medicines and medical procedures are the only way to cure an ailment. In other cases, a natural approach is best and more suitable for patients.
In short, midwives provide medical care to women of childbearing age. You do not have to be pregnant in order to consult with a midwife, but often women who are looking to become pregnant are the key demographics for these types of medical professionals. Midwives can also provide assistance to women who are experiencing severe menstrual cramping or other reproductive health-related ailments. Midwives are also a lifesaver for menopausal women, as they can suggest different techniques for alleviating hot flashes and other side effects associated with this stage of life. Midwives are simply a different type of healthcare professional. They provide complementary services in a sort of niche department. So, you won’t find any midwives making the rounds in hospitals as medical doctors do, but they still have their place in the industry.
Midwives are respected members of the medical community, and their roles in a single area can vary quite widely. In more rural environments, where the nearest hospital could be more than a hundred miles away, medical doctors will work closely with midwives to ensure that their patients can get help during the birthing process. There can also be a concentration of midwives where people want to have alternatives options to traditional hospital births. At the OB/GYN, you will get hooked up to different machines in order to track the progress of your pregnancy. By contrast, a midwife will check your pulse, your heartbeat, ask you a lot of questions, and work in a much more hands-on manner to get a read on how you are feeling as well as how the pregnancy is progressing. Neither approach is better than the other.
You can learn a lot on your own about midwifery, but in order to become licensed and certified to provide services to patients, you have to get the proper education. Look for remote learning DNP midwifery programs to see what kind of pre-requisites are necessary. See how long it will take for you to become certified in midwifery, and look at what the rules are in your state for starting a practice. Some midwives join forces, working together to service large communities of expectant mothers. You can also consult with patients over the web, host classes, and generally work with new parents in non-invasive manners.
It is up to the expectant mother to make informed decisions about her health, but the midwife still has the final say when an emergency arises. If you are going to work as a midwife, you have to find that perfect balance between caring for a mother and providing what she wants, while also being careful to keep the health of the baby and mother as priority number one. For instance, if a mother has been in active labor for many hours and is simply not progressive, you have to make the executive decision to call for emergency services. The mother might be adamant about having a home birth, but as the midwife, you will know when it is time to get a second opinion from an emergency room doctor.
Midwifery and obstetrics should work hand and hand to make the community you live in and serve a better, safer place for all – not just women and infants. As a midwife, your job is to keep mothers and their babies healthy, from gestation, through delivery, and beyond. By providing that service, supportive fathers can rest assured that their loved ones and expanding families are being properly cared for. They can be quiet observers who are ready to provide support and make the birthing process a beautiful and safe one. Most expectant mothers who work with midwives want to have the most natural, non-invasive births possible. If you work together with licensed doctors and always think of the mother and baby’s health first, then all parts of the community will be united and experience the best possible outcome.
A lot of the techniques that doctors use to help women get through childbirth are ones that were developed by midwives hundreds and thousands of years ago. Their approach is trusted and time tested to work. What’s more is that a properly trained midwife will never put the health of mother and child at risk. So, if a home birth is not going as expected, it should be the midwife who insists on immediate transport to an emergency room. Midwives can help parents to keep medical expenses down, while also fostering a safe, loving, and natural environment for a stress-free and beautiful birth.
Image Credits: Photo by 东旭 王 on Unsplash
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