Choosing where you will labor and deliver your baby is a huge decision.
Will you have a home birth? Go to a birthing center? Or, is a traditional hospital birth in your future?
What about choosing a midwife?
Are midwives safe?!
It’s all so daunting!
But, it totally doesn’t have to be.
For me, I had to have c-sections with two of my three children due to a traumatic birthing experience with my first child.
I am so happy I choose to birth in a hospital, in a traditional setting, because it actually meant my life could be quickly and easily saved when I lost consciousness due to hemorrhaging from excessive tearing.
But, that’s not every mother’s story!
Plenty of women give birth safely at home and in alternative locations with the help of trained medical professionals.
If you’re exploring this option, here are some things to know.
Are Midwives Safe: 5 Things to Know About Delivering with a Midwife
Choose a midwife that is trained and certified.
Midwifery training can be obtained in a variety of ways. Certified Midwives (C.M.) meet American College of Nurse-Midwives requirements. They don’t need to be nurses. Certified Nurse Midwives (C.N.m) are nurse practitioners who have also met the American College of Nurse-Midwives requirements. Certified Professional Midwives (C.P.M.) are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. There are also direct entry midwives, lay midwives, and licensed midwives. If your main question is are midwives safe, then making sure you hire one that is certified, trained, and insured appropriately should alleviate some of your fears.
Consider Where You Want to Deliver
If you really don’t want to deliver in a hospital or, if a home birth is important to you, a midwife can really help you achieve this goal. Your traditional OB/GYN is not going to agree to deliver your baby outside of a traditional hospital setting. However, it’s important to note that some midwives do deliver at hospitals which means you can benefit from their approach to labor and delivery and still deliver in a hospital if that is your preference.
Think About Your Health and Risks
Are midwives safe for all pregnancies? If you’re experiencing a healthy pregnancy with no risk factors, delivering with a midwife should be safe for you and your baby. However, even those who have risk factors may be able to enjoy a birth with a midwife. You may need to coordinate with an OB/GYN to ensure your and the baby’s safety.
Make Sure Your Partner is Up to the Task
Talk to your partner about your expectations and the role they will need to play in the experience. Midwife assisted births are meant to be family focused and inclusive which is why many women elect to go this route.
Think About Including a Doula
Many women tend to confuse the role of a doula in the birthing experience. Doula’s are for support and guidance and care of the mother during the labor and delivery experience. Doula’s do not do anything medical -no prenatal or delivery care. Having one working side by side with your midwife can make your entire experience more fulfilling.
Thinking about working with a midwife during your pregnancy?
Make sure you get recommendations from local friends and family members, ask your primary care doctor for referrals, and take time to interview them to ensure they are a great fit. You can even ask some of the women in the mom.life app to share their picks and stories with you.
And, this midwife interview checklist may help you along the way.