CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Midwives attended the royal birth, so does that mean a midwife should attend yours? Michal Klau-Stevens is The Birth Lady and she joined us to share more about the care that midwives provide.
Midwives attended the Royal Birth – Should a Midwife Attend Yours?
By Michal Klau-Stevens, The Birth Lady
In May we celebrate International Day of the Midwife, and by now we’ve all seen pictures of Princess Kate standing outside the hospital looking radiant just hours after giving birth to baby Charlotte. It’s been reported that she was attended by midwives for the birth. Could a midwife be the right caregiver for you?
A midwife is a person trained to assist women in childbirth. Midwives are expert caregivers who focus on what is normal and healthy in birth. Midwifery care attends to the physical, psychological, and social well being of women throughout childbearing. It’s a holistic approach.
A midwife would be a good choice of caregiver for you:
If you are healthy and having a normal pregnancy
If you want to have an active birth and avoid certain medical interventions, but still may want an epidural
If you want to develop a closer relationship with a caregiver who spends more time with you
A midwife should be your first choice if:
You want a natural birth in a hospital with as few interventions as possible
You want to birth in a birth center or at home
What does care with a midwife look like?
They focus on maintaining health through proper nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction through pregnancy.
The average appointment with a midwife is 30 to 40 minutes.
She checks your weight, measures your belly to see how the baby is growing, listens for the heartbeat, and checks for signs of common health problems. Midwives tend to spend more time talking with their clients to develop a trusting relationship and make sure they are managing the social and emotional changes that happen during pregnancy as well as the physical changes.
During births, midwives carefully monitor the progress of labor and the health of mother and baby. They are more likely to use non-medical techniques during birth, such as movement, position changes, comfort measures, such as hot or cold packs, breathing techniques and baths or showers. Most midwives are happy to have you bring a doula along for your birth too because then they have someone to share the hands-on support with them.
Hospital-based midwives can do inductions if necessary and they can prescribe pain relief, such as an epidural or narcotic pain relief, during births. Midwives cannot do cesarean surgery, which is the work of obstetricians.
Midwives usually spend more time in the delivery room doing watchful waiting with their patients while they are in labor so they can pick up on changes that occur. If they see a problem developing they may use various techniques to correct the problem, or decide that care should be stepped up to an obstetrician. In a hospital this can happen very quickly, but in a birth center or home birth it may take longer. Out-of-hospital midwives carry tools such as oxygen and medicines or herbs to stop bleeding if necessary. They have their own special ‘bag of tricks’ and their training focuses on avoiding those complications in the first place.
Midwives work to keep birth as normal and healthy as possible. Princess Kate set a wonderful example of the results.