In Australia, all babies are born with the help of a midwife. This is true whether you're giving birth in hospital, birth centre, at home or in an operating theatre. The question is really - what are the benefits to having a midwife as your primary care provider?
Midwives as primary care providers for women
Midwives generally have a firm belief in pregnancy and birth as natural processes that women can do. In other words, they believe that a woman's body is perfectly designed for pregnancy and birth. They look for what's right in the pregnancy and birth, while always being mindful of risks. Midwives help to keep pregnancy and birth normal by focusing on the important preventative measures such as nutrition, lifestyle, health and well being.
Midwives use a holistic, or biopsychosocial model of care. What this means is that you're not just a pregnancy or a birth to a midwife. Your midwife will be interested in your life, your family, your interests and so on, as well as your health and medical history. She will take all of this information into account when making recommendations and giving advice.
Midwives are less likely to intervene with induction of labour, episiotomy, frequent perform vaginal examinations, breaking your waters and so on. So your labour is able to progress naturally.
Women are usually very satisfied with midwifery care. They feel supported, safe, empowered and confident. They feel they can trust their midwife and that their wishes are respected. Women feel more comfortable to write a birth plan and discuss their hopes and preferences for their pregnancy and labour when they see a midwife.
So, what does this mean for birth and babies?
Well, there are lots of positives! When you have a midwife as your primary care provider, you can expect:
- choice of birth place (hospital, birth centre, or home)
- a much lower chance of caesarean
- lower chance of episiotomy
- less likely to be induced
- less likely to need pain medication in labour
- less likely to have your waters broken
- you will be listened to and respected
- your birth plan will be respected
- you will be able to build trust with the midwife who will help you in birth
- you will be less likely to have an assisted birth (eg forceps)
- you will have a lower chance of postnatal depression
- you will be less likely to have a traumatic birth
- baby will be more likely to breastfeed successfully
- you will most likely view your labour as being very positive
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.