One of the best ways to insure that you have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth experience is to have a midwife as your prenatal care provider and birth attendant instead of a doctor. In fact, study after study points out that midwives are considered safe health care providers for almost all low-risk pregnancies. The American Pregnancy Association points out that a full 60% to 80% of all pregnancies are low risk. So, there’s a very good chance your own pregnancy is low-risk and that means your pregnancy care provider of choice may very well be a midwife. Read on to learn about some of the many benefits midwife care can offer.
One of the largest midwifery studies to date was completed by Peter Schlenzka, and for this study Schlenzka reviewed over 800,000 births and found that there are simply no advantages of an obstetric hospital approach to labor and birth when compared to a nurse-midwife approach to labor and birth. The research applies to both hospital births and home births, meaning, midwife led births are safe both inside or outside of the hospital. Overall, Schlenzka’s research shows that women who use a nurse-midwife vs a traditional OB may reap the following benefits:
- Overall lower maternity care costs.
- Reduced mortality and morbidity related to cesarean and other birth interventions.
- Lower labor and birth intervention rates.
- Fewer birth recovery complications for mothers.
Other Benefits of Midwifery Care
- A University of Washington study, among others, backs-up Schlenzka’s findings, noting that low-risk pregnant women who choose nurse midwives as their care providers are less likely to have a caesarean, receive less anesthesia, have lower episiotomy rates and pay less out of pocket for their care as compared to low-risk women who choose a doctor as their care provider.
- The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative notes that the number one way to avoid excess birth interventions is to have a midwife instead of an OB.
- Research shows that midwife shortages may cause harm to both mothers and babies.
- You can have a midwife in any setting you choose – at the hospital, at home or in a birth center. Obviously this depends on home birth and midwifery laws in your state though; but there are midwives who practice in all settings.
- Midwives are already way more affordable than doctors, but also often have payment plans, sliding fees, and accept most insurance plans, including Medicaid.
- Women who have a midwife more often report positive feelings about their personalized care received during the prenatal period and during labor, which can lead to a better chance of feeling in control during labor.
- Midwifery care is associated with a better rate of breastfeeding initiation and most midwives offer breastfeeding help and support.
- Women who have a midwife are more likely to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
- Midwives offer more than just pregnancy and birth care. You can also have a midwife as your primary health care provider, which means your very own midwife will be there when you need basic gynecological care, breast exams, heart screenings and much more!
Learn more about midwives:
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