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Midwives: Advocates for Women-Centered Care

You and your partner have made the decision to grow your family. For the last few months you have maintained a nutritious diet, been exercising routinely, taking prenatal vitamins, and trying to be the healthiest person you can be.

Then, there is the moment of truth, which reveals you have succeeded in your efforts and are pregnant. An amazing moment indeed, with the hope of many more amazing moments to come, and a moment that creates the need to find someone who will help you navigate this journey through pregnancy and beyond for the best outcomes possible.

Childbirth options

In considering your options, have you thought about partnering with a midwife? Perhaps you have, because your sister had a midwife for her second baby’s birth who successfully advocated for her to achieve a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC).

Or perhaps you have a friend who told you about the community of friends she made during the group prenatal care option that was offered by her midwifery practice. But perhaps you haven’t heard of any of this, or you may think midwives only assist women in birth outside the hospital and that’s not for you.

The facts

Midwives are independent, licensed providers who specialize in the healthcare of essentially low-risk healthy women for all their gynecologic and obstetric needs – so midwives can also help you with annual pap smears, family planning, birth control, that vaginal itch that’s been bothering you, or a concern you have because of an unintended exposure. Most midwife-attended births take place in a hospital, although you can also have a midwife attend your birth at home or in a birth center.

The midwifery model of care supports physiologic birth and keeps women in the center of the plan for care. Midwives listen to women and provide education about their options for care so they can make informed decisions.

Midwives often disrupt the status quo by using scientific, evidence-based approaches that result in improved birth outcomes at a lower cost of care. Midwives are about supporting women in the birth experience they want, their way, in a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment.

Find a midwife

Our country is experiencing unacceptably high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, especially among women of color. Influential stakeholder organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), are looking to midwives and the midwifery model of care as a resource to address these concerns.

To advance midwives’ vital position in transforming healthcare around the world, WHO has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Midwives provide care that results in lower c-section rates, lower rates of episiotomy, higher rates of breastfeeding, and lower costs to our already overburdened health care systems. Midwives are the gatekeepers of normal birth and a great option for you to consider on your journey into parenthood. Find your midwife today.

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