While midwifery may seem like a hot trend, it's been in practice for a long time. As with many holistic practices, midwifery is gaining ground as people tire of the overuse of medication and surgeries.
Like many others, I assumed that working with a midwife was only an option for prenatal care and delivery. Upon further research, I realized that a woman and her family can benefit from working with a certified nurse-midwife at different phases of her family’s growth and women can benefit from midwifery care for their entire adults lives.
The Cochrane Reviews published a review showing that most women whose prenatal and childbirth care are led by a midwife have better outcomes compared with those whose care is led by a physician. The best outcomes occur when the care is midwife led care in collaboration with other health professionals as needed.
During the filming of the pilot for my show, The Journey into Wellbeing, I learned of the story of Mary Breckinridge who founded Frontier Nursing University 75 years ago in Eastern Kentucky. We profiled this Kentucky hero and the significant difference she made in the lives of Kentucky families, as well as her wide and continuing impact on health care today.
“The growth in the field of midwifery is due, in great part, to the culture of collaboration nurse-midwives have with physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers to provide safe options for women,” says Frontier Nursing’s President Dr. Susan Stone. “Evidence-based practice, strong relationships, and family-centered care are the cornerstones of midwifery. We hope that families continue to expand their understanding of the practice of midwifery as well the many valuable choices that women have available throughout their lifetime.”
One normally associates the services of a midwife only with pregnancy, and while this it primarily true, there are other ways in which you can access the services of a certified nurse-midwife.
Here are five wonderful benefits of working with a certified nurse-midwife:
1. Midwives have a more holistic approach to healthcare.
One great benefit to working with a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is their more holistic approach to well-being. In general, nurse-midwives tend to have more time to answer all your questions and help you learn about the physical and emotional changes you experience as you prepare for your expanding family or with your general care.
For those who are expecting, births overseen by CNMs usually have less intervention – such as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, and episiotomies – often with better outcomes for women and their babies. Studies have clearly shown that women using CNMs have much lower rates of caesarians.
2. Midwives can help with family planning.
A midwife can be a great resource before you have children by assisting with family planning. In addition to providing maternity care and attendance throughout pregnancy, CNMs also provide contraceptive counseling and services, including:
- Prescriptions for oral contraceptive pills, IUD insertions and removals, insertion and removal of hormone-releasing birth control implants
- Discussion of benefits and risks and individualized explanations and management of all birth control options
3. Certified-midwives are qualified to care for women longterm and to perform a woman’s annual exam.
This is just like an annual exam with a gynecologist. The midwife does a complete physical exam including a vaginal exam, takes a PAP smear, breast exam, and will discuss relevant health topics with you such as family care and nutrition.
One reason many women opt for a midwife when seeking women's healthcare services is they feel their midwife is someone who is willing to invest personal time and attention in their needs. From my own experience, the personal time and attention is lacking in many traditional OB/GYN practices. Certified midwives can also assist women as they enter menopause and face hormonal issues.
4. Certified nurse-midwives are RNs, have a master’s and/or doctoral degree in nursing, national certification and licensure in the state in which they work.
This preparation qualifies them to perform examinations, order lab tests, prescribe medications, etc. So, pregnant or not, they are a great resource for overall family care. If a pregnancy occurs, you can rest assured they are trained to assist you in having the most healthy and happy pregnancy and birth that is possible.
CNMs have relationships with physicians in case there is a high risk situation. It's the responsibility of the nurse-midwife to have these relationships in place.
5. They offer access to an amazing network of massage therapists, acupuncturists, doulas and yoga therapists.
Another great reason to become connected with a nurse-midwife is the opportunity to tap into their network. They are often entrenched in their communities and can offer great recommendations on other natural, holistic providers. They regularly work with massage therapists, acupuncturists, doulas and yoga therapists. Don’t hesitate ask who they work with and recommend whether you are expecting or not.
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