The word midwife may evoke images of a time gone by. However, midwives are very active in bringing new babies into the modern world. Having a baby is a huge decision. Another big decision is choosing the doctors and nurses who will help you during your pregnancy and delivery. A midwife can play a critical role on this medical team.
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a highly qualified, certified advanced nurse practitioner who works hand in hand with your hospital. Midwives provide service in the areas of prenatal, postpartum, normal newborn and gynecological care. Midwives help during labor and delivery, throughout the pregnancy, and afterward. Midwives offer assistance with pregnancy planning, gynecological examinations, diet, exercise, hygiene, and other aspects of healthy living.
A midwife must have a bachelor’s degree and may even have a master’s or doctorate. A midwife must complete nursing and midwifery training and pass a certification test. A midwife must work in conjunction with a licensed physician.
What are the duties of a midwife?
During pregnancy: She monitors the health of mother and baby.
During labor: She offers emotional support, evaluates progress, and facilitates family involvement.
After birth: She performs a newborn examination, offers breast-feeding advice, provides infant and new mother health care advice, and prescribes medications and vitamins.
Is a midwife covered by insurance?
Private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid, along with many of the managed care programs, will cover a nurse-midwife.
Why would I choose a midwife?
The choice of a midwife must be made after careful consideration. A midwife offers a more personalized approach to the birth process. A midwife is likely to remain with the mother through the duration of the labor, while a physician is likely to come in and out while attending to other duties. A midwife’s role is to support the wishes of the mother regarding pain medication and birth procedures as long as they are safe. The midwife experience often can assist a new mother through physical and emotional challenges she faces. A midwife stays with the mother throughout the entire labor and delivery, even assisting in the operating room if a Cesarean section is indicated to maintain the safety of the baby and mother. A traditional physician is more likely to handle only the medical aspects of the birth, but of course, this varies from doctor to doctor.
You can learn more about the benefits of having a midwife on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at 6 pm. Amy Johnson, ARNP Certified Nurse Midwife, will present “Tender Loving Care – The Midwife Experience and Obstetrics (OB) Tour.” This free event and tour of the Labor and Delivery unit and Nursery will be held at St. Petersburg General Hospital in Auditoriums A & B at 6500 38th Avenue North, St Petersburg, FL 33710. To register, call 1-888-741-5122.