A midwife: what is she?

Healthcare professionals that specialize in pregnancy, delivery, infant care, and postpartum health are known as midwives. Certain midwives offer standard reproductive services, such as Pap testing, pelvic examinations, and birth control advice. Midwives are typically more naturalistic in their approach to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as more holistic. When a person knows they intend to give birth at home or without the use of medication, they frequently select a midwife.

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Most midwives are not doctors. They frequently collaborate with gynecologists and obstetricians (Ob/Gyns) at hospitals to make sure you have access to the care you require. If you have just minor difficulties or a low-risk pregnancy, a midwife is advised.

Labor and pregnancy are deeply personal experiences. You can choose the level of care that suits you most. Therefore, understanding the distinctions between OB/Gyns and midwives may be beneficial.

What is the role of a midwife?

It is contingent upon their qualifications, licensure, education, and place of practice. The most services may be provided by trained nurse midwives and certified midwives. Uncertified midwives provide less services.

A midwife may offer the following medical services:

regular pregnancy monitoring and prenatal visits.

Sonography and fetal blood tests.

taking care of babies and giving birth.

postpartum medical attention.

Inform people about conception, breastfeeding, nutrition, and other areas of reproductive health.

Family planning and birth control.

Breast examinations and Pap testing.

exams to check for illnesses and infections of the vagina, including STIs.

A qualified nurse midwife might work in clinics, homes, hospitals, or birthing facilities. The settings in which uncertified midwives can practice are restricted. It is crucial to find out from your midwife’s qualifications what standards are in place for midwife services at your hospital or birth facility.

What varieties of midwives are there?

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs): CNMs possess a graduate degree in midwifery and have successfully completed nursing school. They can do general reproductive care, administer medicine, arrange lab work, and diagnose diseases in addition to handling pregnancy and childbirth. They are eligible to work in birthing facilities, residences, and hospitals. The American Midwifery Certification Board certifies CNMs. They operate in the District of Columbia as well as all 50 states.

Certified midwives (CMs): CMs are midwives with a master’s degree who haven’t finished nursing school. CMs hold a degree from an undergraduate program other than nursing. The American Midwifery Certification Board has qualified them, and they are authorized to prescribe drugs. There are just nine states where CMs are authorized to practice.

CPMs, or certified professional midwives, are employed by homes or birth centers. They are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives and have finished their curriculum. Not all states allow CPMs to practice, and they are not authorized to prescribe drugs.

Unlicensed or lay midwives: These professionals lack a license to practice midwifery and are not certified. They have either learned on their own or through some other kind of instruction, such as an apprenticeship. Nearly all of the work that unlicensed midwives do is in homes.

What makes an OB/Gyn different from a midwife?

The education and methods of care that OB/Gyns and midwives employ are not the same.

Midwives approach pregnancy and delivery more naturally and are very helpful. Instead than seeing pregnancy and childbirth as illnesses that need to be treated, they see them as natural processes. They are typically more receptive to unconventional methods of childbirth and labor. A midwife could be what people seek for a more comfortable childbirth.

Because they did not attend medical school, midwives are not able to perform all of the same functions as an OB/Gyn. High-risk pregnancies and delivery difficulties are beyond their scope of practice. Midwives cannot use some medicinal or surgical procedures that obstetricians can use to treat problems.

That is not to suggest that Ob/Gyns won’t provide individualized, supportive treatment or be receptive to other methods to your care. If you’re not sure, schedule meetings with both healthcare professionals to see which one best suits your style and your goals for the pregnancy and birth.