Midwives are trained individuals that are certified as a health care professional. They provide a high quality alternative to an obstetrician. Midwives also provide gynecological services. However, they specialize is in providing prenatal care, labor and delivery services, and postpartum care. Midwives provide quality health care services at a reasonable price. Using a midwife at home can be a much more economical solution that using an OB/GYN at a hospital.

Before using a midwife, you should be made aware of a midwife’s philosophy and their practices. Not all midwives follow the same philosophies and practices, listed below is a list of the most common philosophies and practices held by most midwives. Make sure to get familiar with a midwife before you commit to using their services.

Typical midwife philosophies and practices:

  • A continual monitoring of your physical, psychological, and overall well-being throughout your entire pregnancy and after.
  • Providing you with tailored personal care through education, counseling, and personalized prenatal services from conception until delivery.
  • Intentional efforts to completely minimizing any unnecessary technological intervention.
  • A concerted effort to identify and refer women who require obstetrics.
  • Adapted from the Midwives Model of Care by The Citizens for Midwifery.

Services that midwives provide:

The types of services provided by a midwife depends on the midwife’s personal certifications and credentials. For example, a nurse-midwife has additional credentials in nursing. Nurse-midwives have most comprehensive services.

Midwives provide gynecological services. More importantly, they specialize in providing prenatal care with labor and delivery services. Midwives usually provide a more economical option for maternity care and delivery.

Types of midwives:

The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) are the two licensing entities in North America for midwifery. They deliver a high level education and certify that an individual has reached the level of expertise that is needed to be a midwife.

  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): Trained and licensed in both nursing and midwifery. A CNM also possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. They are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Certified Midwife (CM): an individual trained and certified in midwifery. A CM also possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. They are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): Trained in midwifery. A CPM meets practice standards of the North American Registry of Midwives.
  • Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): A DEM is an individual who is trained in midwifery. They could have obtained this training is various ways including an apprenticeship, a midwifery school, personal self-study, or a college or university program.

Where can I use a midwife?

Midwives provide services most anywhere. Typically a midwife will assist you through a hospital, a birthing center, or in the comforts of your home. Home birthing is a more economical way to birth a child. Birthing centers are typically more economical as well. No matter whether you choose to deliver your baby in a hospital, at a birth center or at home, using a midwife will be easier on you finances.

Why should I use a midwife?

Women and families have many reasons why they choose to use a midwife. Fo most the reaon is purely economical. Others women and families appreciate using a birthing center or delivering their child at home because they want to experience a more natural childbirth.

Benefits related to using a midwife:

  • Statistically lower intervention rates
  • Statistically reduced mortality/morbidity rate (compared to cesarean and other types of interventions)
  • Statistically less recovery complications
  • Lower maternity care and labor and delivery costs
  • Most pregnancies are low risk and are eligible for delivery in a birthing center or at home with a midwife. Midwives typically have great relationships with many practicing obstetricians and will not hesitate to call upon them if necessary.

If you anticipate any complications in your pregnancy due to past experience or family history, you should have your child in a hospital. There is better access to obstetricians, perinatologists, and many other contingencies that are needed to deal with a variety of complications. The most important thing to take into consideration is the health of you as the mother and the newborn baby.

For additional information on Midwives, please visit the American Pregnancy Association.