Today, January 8, 2016, is Midwives Day! Are any of our Preggers mamas planning on delivering with the help of a midwife? Or maybe you know someone who has or plans to use a midwife. In the US, the rate of midwife deliveries is still pretty low compared to the numbers delivered by OB-GYNs, but the trend is definitely on the rise. In honor of Midwives Day, we thought we’d explore midwifery and its rising trend and practice in the US.
Midwifery has been around as long as childbirth itself. Of course, midwifery in the ancient and medieval world was not the practice that it is today. But, the idea was the same. It was not until the last couple of centuries that women began to labor and deliver with the help of trained doctors, and even more recent that births were moved to hospitals. Despite this transition in countries like the US, the art and practice of midwifery has always been in practice in undeveloped countries, as well as other developed countries around the world.
The percentages of midwife deliveries in the United States is still low compared to OB-GYN deliveries, but is definitely on the rise. According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in a June 25, 2012 article in Time Magazine, roughly 1 in every 8 vaginal deliveries is assisted by a midwife.
Why is this trend on the rise? The reasons are different for every mother, but many of the reasons include the following:
- Interventions – Many women want to give birth without medical interventions. Using synthetic drugs like Pitocin to induce labor can lead to an increased risk of C-Sections, another thing many women want to avoid. A lot of these mothers also look for a more natural method of pain relief rather than the standard epidural used in hospitals.
- Cost – Let’s face it. The cost of childbirth is very expensive. Insurance will pick up a lot of it, but mothers must usually meet deductibles – sometimes very high ones. And each intervention done also adds to the already high cost. The cost of a midwife delivery can be drastically lower than a traditional delivery, especially when done outside of a hospital. Before choosing this route, however, make sure your insurance will cover using a midwife. Many plans will, but some may not.
- Hands-On Care – Pregnant mothers are not the only patients that OB-GYNs will see during a given day, making them very busy. Most midwives can spend more time with their patients, developing a stronger relationship. When it comes time for delivery, the laboring mother will have the undivided attention of the midwife.
- Personalized Birth Plan – There are a number of things mothers can do during labor to help move things along, as well as manage pain. A growing number of mothers like to have a specific plan in place that may include use of a birthing ball or bar, a tub for water birth, or maybe your favorite music or candles. These are all things that are more likely to be accommodated when delivering outside of a hospital.
Types of Midwives
There are two different types of midwives to choose from – Certified Nurse-Midwives and Direct-Entry Midwives. According to the website whattoexpect.com the differences are:
Midwives can be a great option for pregnant moms. But, one thing that everyone agrees on: any high-risk pregnancy (high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, etc.) should be handled in a hospital with an experienced OB-GYN.
If you like the sound of a midwife delivery, do your research and find out what is best for you and your baby in your area. Make an informed decision based on your individual needs. Happy Midwives Day and happy delivering, mamas!