Thursday, January 17, 2013

Using a Midwife

Tom and I decided awhile ago that we would use a midwife once we were pregnant. Personally the only time I have been in a hospital is when I was born and to visit others [ mainly my younger brother who is fairly accident prone ]. I also watched the movie "The Business of Being Born" and although every documentary should be watched with an open mind, knowing there are two sides to every story, it made a lot of good points. The one thing that really upset me was that the c-section rate in the US is over 30%!!! Mostly due to the fact that doctors are on a time schedule and therefore your birth is on a time schedule. Also, being someone who hates needles and has never had surgery, the traditional hospital setting was not something I ever wanted and I'm honestly more scared of an epidural or a c-section than I am of having a natural birth.

Birth is a natural process in a women's life and a midwife not only understand that but supports it as well. There are no unnecessary procedures that impose on the natural timeline of labor and they know that every woman is different and labors at a different rate. "National research shows that midwives achieve the same outcomes as physicians without disrupting the natural birth process as often. Research also shows that midwives have reduced cesarean section rates by more than 50% with no compromise in safety. In fact, care from midwives has significantly lower rates of induced labor, episiotomies, and forcep births." - Midwive's Association [ but I'll write another post on why we chose a natural birth another time ]

[ Ina May Gaskin is considered the "Mother of Authentic Midwifery" ] 

After researching more about mid-wives I was convinced a natural birth was perfect and began to look for one in our area. The closest was in Vergennes, VT - a little over an hour from us. Plus they had a birthing center at Porter Hospital in Middlebury, VT - about 45 minutes form us - which made both Tom and I more comfortable in case there was a true emergency there were Ob-Gyn's on call. We had our first appointment with Tapestry Midwifery that lasted 1.5hours and they answered every question we had and talked to us about what to expect and made us feel important. We never felt rushed and we have never waited forever for the midwife. Here's a short list of why we are using a midwife:

  • Midwives see you as a person. They do not see pregnancy as a disease that needs to be solved. 
  • Midwives give you more time - a lot more. You only see the midwife during your thirty minutes or hour appointments so there is no see a nurse and then waiting another thirty minutes to see the doctor who only stays for maybe 15 minutes. 
  • Midwives believe in informed consent. They never force you into "routine" tests or procedures as they allow you to make informed decisions by giving you all of the information you need. 
  • Midwives want you to have a natural, healthy birth as much as you do. They have many different, holistic ways of keeping you as comfortable and as calm as possible during labor.
  • Midwives allow you to eat and drink during labor. During the first appointment our midwife said "How would you like to run a marathon without ever eating or drinking during it?" This made complete sense especially since exhaustion is one of the main reasons births stall in a traditional setting. 
  • Midwives allow you to birth in whatever position you want. laying with your legs in stirrups is the most inconvenient way to give birth but is very convenient for a doctor. Midwives believe you should give birth whatever way is most comfortable which is usually squatting or on all fours - both positions use gravity and make birthing "easier" and you are less likely to tear. 
Those are the main reasons we decided to use a midwife but there are many, many more! It's not the conventional way to give birth in the US but it is in Europe and most other countries. So feel free to ask any questions you may have!!!

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