Midwives have been around for generations, helping women through their pregnancies because doctors were not always available. Today midwives offer expectant mothers with an alternative to having a doctor deliver their babies. For some mothers it may be a preference for having a natural birth. Other mothers may choose to use a midwife for financial reasons.
Midwives specialize in almost everything that involves pregnancies. Some of the areas of pregnancy midwives provide mothers with help in include:
- Delivering the baby
- Physical examinations
- Post-delivery issues, such as breastfeeding
- Prenatal care
The type of midwife depends on their education level and certification which varies from state to state. Some states require additional training and license requirements. Generally, a:
- Certified Nurse-Midwife – has been trained, and is a licensed nurse who has at least a bachelor’s degree and has a certification from the American College of Nurse Midwives.
- Certified Professional Midwife – has been trained in midwifery and meets the educational requirements set by the North American Registry of Midwives.
- Certified Midwife – has earned at least a bachelor’s degree and has been certified from the ACNM.
Some expectant mothers think of using a midwife because she wants to experience a natural birth. She may want the birth to take place at a special birthing center or at home. If this is the case then she may want the ongoing personalized care that a midwife can offer.
Regardless of whether has decided to use a midwife; certain steps should be taken to ensure that she and the baby are well-cared for:
- Determine pregnancy risk level (midwives will handle mostly low risk pregnancies with very little chance of there being a complication).
- Before making a decision, consult with more than one midwife.
- Ask any midwife for references and contact as many as possible.
- Check that a midwife has met the education and licensing requirements of your state.
- Ask the midwives the names of the doctors they work with if they are required to work with under the supervision of the doctor.
- Ask whether the midwife would work with a doctor voluntarily in case there was a medical emergency.
- Consider giving birth in a hospital where a doctor will always be available in case of an emergency.
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