For many women, pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster. Many women experience excitement, joy and hope, but also fear, uncertainty and even disappointment and sadness. The relationship a woman develops with her midwife is important to a woman as she journeys through her pregnancy, birthing and in the early weeks with her baby.
It has been shown that women who are cared for by one dedicated midwife for the duration of their pregnancy, birth and early newborn period find this form of care to be highly satisfying.
It is about having one person who shares in your pregnancy, who listens as you share your fears and concerns, who shares information with you and who supports your decisions and choices.
When a woman knows and trusts her midwife, there is a shift of power towards the woman as she feels a greater sense of control over her entire experience. She becomes aware of her choices and options, she feels confident to make her own decisions and she goes to her birth feeling confident, informed and supported. She knows who will be caring for her on the day, and she knows that her midwife knows everything that is important to her for her birth.
There is no sense of being a number in a busy system. There is no need to repeat yourself at every visit. There are no lengthy waits for appointments. Each appointment takes around an hour, so there is plenty of time to get to know one another.
Private midwifery care is an option that more and more women are asking for, although it is only accessed by a small number of women. Yet research shows that this care model, in which a woman is cared for by one midwife from early pregnancy though to birth and post-birth care, offers numerous benefits to women and babies. These include a greater chance of a spontaneous birth without stitches, feeling in control during labour and exclusive breastfeeding with minimal chance of postnatal depression and baby blues. Private midwifery care also means much less requirement for pain relief in labour, fewer inductions of labour and of course a much lower chance of needing a caesarean.
The care I am describing - where a woman knows and chooses her midwife – is available for both home and hospital births. If private midwifery care is available in your area, you may decide that is what you would like.
Melissa Maimann is an eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa offers a range of care options for women. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.