In 2014, midwives in the U.S. attended 332,107 births, slightly more than the previous year. This according to the ACNM, a certification association representing nurse-midwives and midwives in the United States. Midwives mainly work in hospitals and other medical facilities to assist in the birthing process. According to webmd.com, women feel more satisfied being able to make decisions for their birthing experience when they work with a midwife. When you’re expecting, here are some pros and cons to weigh.
- Holistic care: Midwives support a more natural childbirth method and are cautious to use any medical procedure, even something such as ongoing fetal monitoring.
- More personal attention: Midwives are able to spend more time with patients during checkups and prenatal appointments. They are also able to offer clients more support throughout the labor and birth process, and postpartum care as well.
- Comprehensive care: Midwives offer care for women beginning in their teen years and throughout menopause. Many women may be more comfortable with someone who has cared for them throughout life’s changes.
- Focus on women: A midwife’s goal is to help women understand their healthcare choices in areas that range from exercise to contraception, fertility, and parenthood.
- Unable to perform surgery: Although they have advanced medical training, midwives are not able to complete a C-section if it’s needed. They can assist in the surgery, however.
- Pregnancies with risk: These are usually not handled by midwives.
- Facility options: Midwife services are not offered in some hospitals and clinics. Check with the medical facilities in your area if this is your preference.
- Insurance coverage: Health programs may not cover midwife services performed in anything other than a hospital. Check with your provider, especially if you are considering an at-home birth.
Types of Training and Certification
There are a few different types of midwives. Certified nurse-midwives have received training both as a nurse and as a midwife and most hold a master’s degree in nursing. They must pass a national certification test by the ACNM and qualify for a state license. Find out more about becoming a midwife through the University of Cincinatti.
Certified midwives are college-educated and also certified by the ACNM. This is a relatively new specialty and some states do not offer a license for it. The third category is certified professional midwives. They are trained as midwives and certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. Read more about advanced nursing degrees.
European women are comfortable choosing a midwife, with the rate of midwife-assisted births about the same as doctor-assisted births. About 90 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. have an obstetrician attend their birth experience, at least for now. In the near future, more U.S. women are likely to turn to midwives, especially in more rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors.