The Unique Perspective Midwives Bring to Birth

When I meet a pregnant person I try hard not to launch into a full speech about my experience with midwives, but I have to confess that it’s happened a few times.  So why have I become suddenly evangelical about this alternative to the typical hospital birth? 

In my experience, midwives bring an entirely different perspective to the birth.  Doctors are trained for years in how to cure sick people.  On the other hand, midwives specialize in empowering women to find natural, non-invasive ways to stay as comfortable as possible during labor.

Now I’m not going to say that people should only have natural births, but in this age of scheduled C-sections it does seem like we’ve gone to some extremes.  Doctors are extremely nervous about liability and often move toward surgery or drugs far more quickly than they necessarily have to.  But with the proper education, coaching and support, many more women would be able to deliver naturally and feel like they had more options in the birthing process.

Did you have a positive experience either with a  hospital birth or a midwife?  Did you deliver at home or in a small clinic?  Please share your stories!

Comments

  1. I was around 22 or 24 weeks when I switched from an OB to a midwife. The difference was profound. My prenatal care was great with my midwives! They spent much more time with me, answering all my questions. With my OB, I always felt like she was rushing out the door.

    When I was in labor and developed complications, my midwife explained what was happening and options for me to take.

    I hope all of my births are attended by a midwife.

  2. Even though this isn’t quite what you were asking for here is my experience… I started off my pregnancy seeing a midwife through my doctors office. I saw them for all of my prenatal visits and I loved the attention and care I got with them. I was induced due to medical issues and was still able to have a midwife at the delivery in the hospital. Since my group practice midwives and doctors work very close when I ended up needing a c-section it went flawless. I think I had the best of both worlds. With my second child, I did the same things — I had midwife prenatal care and a c-section with a doctor. I think I was lucky to have a group practice with midwifes and doctors working so well together.

  3. I had a wonderful birth experience; I birthed at a free-standing birth center with a midwife attending. I loved my prenatal care and loved how normal and natural it all was. I would recommend it to anyone! I would consider a home birth next time; if there is a next time that is – HA!

    And if you really want to know more, here is a link to my birth story on my website. http://parentingtips365.com/my-birth-story/

    If anyone is considering a natural birth with a midwife, I know it’s great to hear as many positive birth stories as possible.

  4. We had planned a homebirth with a midwife for our first baby. After laboring at home for a long time, the baby passed meconium (sp?) and we transferred to a hospital (but under midwife care). I still cherish the time spent at home, though, where I was comfortable and happy and singing. The hospital part went fine, too, and was also done with a midwife, and I was able to have a vaginal birth. If we had started in the hospital I suspect things might not have gone so well, simply due to the length of labor (active labor for maybe 30-35 hours, 12 of which were in the hospital)

    This time around my wife is pregnant and we are planning another home birth. It means a lot to both of us to be able to be in a familiar environment under our own control. Both of us tend to be fearful in medical settings and fear isn’t really helpful in a birthing situation. We love our midwife, and we’ll have a second midwife there as well and perhaps a doula. We did hypnobirthing this time to give us one more tool to help us!

    Right now my wife is doing double appointments in order to have physician backup and the difference in care received is astounding. Midwives can do so much more for you!

  5. I had midwives both time. Here in NZ we get to choose who is our “lead maternity carer” so I chose midwives since there was no reason not to. The other option would have been a general practitioner but there are very few of those who do obstetrics these days. I would have had to travel to the appointments. With a midwife I got to have my appointments in a clinic near the hospital (for Tim) and actually at the hospital (with Lydia). As an NZ citizen I get free pregnancy/midwifery care unless I have to have specialist visits (which I didn’t). I delivered at the small local hospital which has a dedicated maternity unit with the entire range of services in terms of pain relief. They do c-sections there too. Both my births were vaginal though. I could have had a water birth if I’d wanted to. My first birth I ended up with 2 epidurals and a ventouse extraction because Tim was a posterior baby. If I’d been in the larger hospital in town I’m pretty sure I’d have ended up with a c-section. The second I just had gas and delivered without assistance.

    BTW, my birth stories are on my blog. 🙂

  6. During my last pregnancy I moved to a small town where the nearest hospital was 20 minutes away and the nearest midwife was 45 minutes away. I decided to go with an recommended OB from my midwife I was seeing before the move. I LOVE her! She is absolutely fabulous! She always took time to listen, answer questions, give advice, whatever I needed. She supported all my labor/birth wants. She never pushed anything on me. She was really great. I’m now pregnant again and I’ve debated if I want to go with a midwife I don’t know or go with this OB again. I’ve began seeing the OB for this pregnancy, I’m 15 weeks. I don’t know if I’ll decide to investigate the “local” midwives again or not.

  7. I ended up having a good experience giving birth in a hospital. Of course, my hospital was voted one of the top ten hospitals to give birth in the country (maybe it was #2?), so that might have had something to do with it. Of course I don’t remember who did the voting. . . . Anyway, I really liked my O.B. She always paid attention to me and devoted a lot of time to me during appointments. The birthplace itself was nice–a huge room that I stayed in the whole time. It had a private bathroom and an extra bed for my husband to sleep on.

    I also really enjoyed the hospital food, although I’ve never heard anyone else say this, so perhaps my taste buds were addled at that point. I could order whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Right after giving birth I ate a garden burger and a chocolate milk shake!

    If I ever have another baby, I would probably do the same way. If I moved to another town I might look into the midwife/birthing center option. It sounds like everyone loved theirs.

  8. We delivered with a Nurse Midwife working at an OB office. She guaranteed that she would be there to deliver (barring something huge) but always had her Dr’s as backup. We delivered at Littleton Adventist Hospital in Colorado and it was AMAZING!!! I had a similar experience to Rebecca…. great rooms, great food (whenever we wanted just call room service). We stayed home for 6 hours and delivered 6 hours after arriving in the hospital….my husband was the best coach and got me through it. He even informed the nurse that I was entering transition phase and to call the midwife….luckily she was already on her way because we were quick. I distinctly remember the moment I heard Diana’s (midwife) voice and how relaxed I became when I saw her face. I could not have asked for better support from my husband and midwife, I could not have done a natural birth, let alone any birth without them!!!
    I however am also glad that we were connected with the hospital and had the emergency options because I know a few people who have had issues at home. One friend hemorrhaged and barely made it to the hospital and another had a rare Umbilical formation that could have caused bleed out had the midwifes not been great and recognize it to get her to the hospital. Just remember if you have problems and aren’t associated with a hospital in any way (a lot of midwifes have you register ahead and that is good) then you end up in the ER with a general physician waiting in line.

  9. I had a midwife and a water birth. Now this may not seem profound to you but you must understand… I am married to a medical student… That is right he is doctor in training.

    I loved my midwife. In fact it makes me sad to move.

  10. I had all three kids in a hospital but the last experience was not so good and now that I am pregnant with my fourth I have decided a birthing center. The doctor that I had told me I may need a c-section and I told her I would prefer not too. So I was monitored and the baby seemed to doing fine and my doctor went to lunch and while she was at lunch another doctor checked me and I was 4 centimeters. So when the doctor came back from lunch and heard me moaning and groaning I overheard her say to the other doctor I can’t take this I am just going to give her a c-section and be done with it. The other doctor and I pleaded not too. So she left the room and I felt the urge to push and I started calling her after a couple minutes she finaly came and told me I was only 4 centimeters I can’t push and checked me again. To her surprise I was already 9 centimeters and when I asked her if I could push she said to wait she had to rush and put on her scrubs. Everything went really fast and they did not have the opportunity to give me a c-section. But I decided I was done with hospitals. Also she wanted to induce labor in June because July was a hot month. I thought that was weird and I told her I will wait for when the baby is ready. I hope my birthing experience in a birthing home in Brooklyn will be good.

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