This week is National Midwifery Week, created to raise awareness and recognition for midwives and midwife-led care. Certified nurse midwifes are nurses who are specially trained and certified to assist women with women’s health issues, pregnancy, and their child’s birth.
Women have been giving birth with midwives for centuries, but in recent years they’ve been significantly professionalized. Whereas past midwives once learned through non-degree apprenticeships and performed mainly home births, today’s midwives are fully certified medical professionals with years of education who perform a variety of services in many different settings. While many still perform home births, others work in hospitals and birthing centers.
A midwife can be a great choice for a low-risk pregnancy. Midwives have a reputation for providing holistic and well-rounded care, and some offer alternative therapies and pain relief options to complement more conventional practices. And in the delivery room, they’re often able to take more time to work with mom on staying motivated, staying as comfortable as possible, and shifting positions.
For high risk pregnancies, such as those where mom has diabetes or high blood pressure, is carrying multiple babies, or has been experiencing pre-term labor or other complications, it’s best to have a hospital birth with an OB/GYN doctor responsible for the woman’s care during the prenatal process and birth. While midwives can still be a great resource for moms with higher risk pregnancies, it’s important to have a doctor on hand monitoring the situation in case things go wrong. If a woman is having a home birth and things start to get complicated, a midwife will make the call to get her to a hospital.
Pregnancy is a time where a woman must make a lot of very personal decisions about what is best for herself and for her baby. For many women, midwives are a great choice for prenatal care and birth.
At Bon Secours Hampton Roads, we are especially proud to have the region’s first and only hospital-based Midwifery Birth Center. The Midwifery Center at DePaul offers a home-like environment to provide the comfort and privacy of a home birth while maintaining the added safety of delivering your baby in a hospital. Our certified nurse-midwives and doulas offer personal attention, freedom to make an individualized birth plan, and a hands-on approach to enhance your personal care and comfort.