Misconceptions about midwifery care

I'd like to share some misconceptions I often come across in conversations with people as we talk about midwifery care. Midwifery care is only available for normal, healthy, low-risk pregnancies

FACT: Midwifery care is available for all women, regardless of risks or complications.  Women who have higher care needs have input from an obstetrician, but can still access primary care from a midwife.

Midwives only work with women who are expecting a natural birth

It is true that midwives are highly trained in promoting, supporting and caring for women during natural birth, but there is definitely value in midwifery care if you are planning a caesarean, for example in facilitating skin-to-skin contact with your baby from the time of birth, and in providing one-to-one continuity of care from early pregnancy until your baby is 6 weeks old.

Private midwifery care is an alternative to private obstetric care

This can be true, and both are options.  Another option is to engage a model of care that is collaborative, that is, where a midwife and obstetrician work together to provide care so that women have continuity of both obstetric and midwifery care.

The care provided by a private midwife can be compared to the care that is provided by a private obstetrician

The care that is provided by private midwives and private obstetricians is very different, although both providers will work with women one-on-one.  Midwifery care generally entails hour-long appointments and is a relationship-based approach to care.  Obstetrics, on the other hand, is focused on the detection and management of problems, rather than the relationship aspects of care.  Typical obstetric appointments are 10-15 minutes in duration.  During labour, a private midwife is in continuous attendance at the whole labour and birth, whereas risk an obstetrician will come in if there are problems and when it is time for the baby to be born.  After the baby arrives, midwives provide comprehensive care for 6 weeks.

Private midwifery care is only available for a homebirth

Private midwifery care is available through this service for hospital births at Westmead Public Hospital.  You don't need to have private health insurance and you also don't need to reside in the catchment area.

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