Many expectant mothers are not aware of the options available for labor and delivery. Labor and childbirth is a very personal experience, so it only makes sense that this major life event be personalized to suit the individual needs of each new mother. Midwifery is one option that you may consider. There are some common misconceptions about midwives and the care they provide. Here is the truth behind some common myths.
Myth: Midwives are not formally trained.
In the U.S. there are several types of midwives . The most numerous are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) that attend births is a hospital setting. The midwives at Northwest Professional Obstetrics and Gynecology are CNMs. Our midwives and all CNMs in Illinois have graduated with a Master’s degree from an accredited midwifery program. They have passed a national certification program and are required to maintain certification with continuing education that keeps them up to date on advances in knowledge and enables them to provide the best care through pregnancy, labor and birth.
Myth: Midwives only deliver babies.
Our midwives do deliver babies, but they do much more. Midwives also provide extensive prenatal care. Your midwives will partner with you from early pregnancy, helping you to deal with nausea and vomiting, and making decisions about the genetic screening tests that are offered. As the symptoms of early pregnancy subside your midwives educate you about diet, exercises and danger signs of pregnancy. In the later months of pregnancy the focus turns to preparing for the birth of your baby, providing information on options for labor and birth, the benefits breastfeeding and routine tests and medications for the newborn. Throughout your pregnancy your midwives will monitor your baby’s growth, watch for any signs of complications, prescribe prenatal vitamins or any medications you may need, order routine tests and ultrasounds and discuss all test results with you.
Midwives also provide well woman gyne care, such as annual exams; treat women’s health problems like irregular or painful periods, vaginal or bladder infections, or symptoms of menopause; and midwives are experts in all forms of contraception. Midwives provide care for women from the time the first period begins until after menopause.
Myth: Midwives don’t work with obstetricians.
Certified Nurse Midwives work as part of a healthcare team. If a woman has minor complications during her pregnancy, the midwife will consult with an obstetrician on how to manage her care. If more complex problems develop in pregnancy, the midwife and doctor work together in collaboration to provide the best and safest care. In the rare instances when there are severe complications, a woman may be referred to an obstetrician to take over her care. Both Certified Nurse Midwives and obstetricians are part of a healthcare system that includes perinatologists, also known as maternal-fetal medicine doctors, that specialize in managing high risk pregnancies. These doctors are always available to both midwives and obstetricians to offer their expertise in managing complications of pregnancy or labor.