Midwives are healthcare providers who offer specialized care to women and support during pregnancy, labor, and birth. In honor of National Midwifery Week, let’s take a look at the services midwives provide and the impact they’re making worldwide.
Midwives make an impact
In 2015, American midwives attended 371,504 births (9.3% of all births in the U.S.), and this percentage has been growing nearly every year since 1989. While this is impressive, other countries around the world show that midwives can take on a larger role in the healthcare system. For example, in England from 2013-2014, a majority of births (55.6% of known births) were performed by a midwife, compared with 39.7% of births handled by a doctor.
Midwives are flexible
Depending on where you live, there are many different ways to make a midwife part of your pregnancy care experience. Most midwives operate in all types of birth settings, including birth centers, clinics, and your local hospital. You can find a midwife who will oversee all aspects of your pregnancy and birth or one who partners with an obstetrician or family doctor. Some practices use a collaborative model, where you will work with both a midwife and an obstetrician throughout your pregnancy. This can give you extra face time and support from a midwife, while still giving you an opportunity to build a relationship with an OB/GYN in case of complications requiring a doctor’s intervention.
Midwives can go beyond birth
When you hear the word “midwife,” you might think only about pregnancy and delivery, but midwives provide other types of care for women throughout their lives, including both gynecological and primary care. According to a survey of the members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, over 33% of certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives said that primary care was their main responsibility. If the idea of a primary care provider who is also specialized in reproductive and gynecological issues sounds appealing, a midwife could be a great option for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about midwives, you can click here for more information. And thank you for celebrating National Midwifery Week with us!
- Community and Mental Health team. “Compendium of Maternity Statistics, England, April 2015.” Health and Social Care Information Centre. Web. April 14, 2015. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17333/comp-of-mat-stat-2015-rep.pdf
- Martin, Joyce A., MPH, et al. “National Vital Statistics Reports.” Volume 66, Number 1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. January 5, 2017. Web. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_01.pdf
- “Our Moment of Truth: Discover Midwifery Care & Women’s Health.” American College of Nurse-Midwives. 2017. Web. http://ourmomentoftruth.com/your-health/primary-care-for-teens-through-menopause/