Celebrating Midwives: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I see a midwife if I know I want an epidural? Yes, Midwives support all birth plans (epidural or not). They believe each woman should be able to decide what is the right choice for her labor and birth.

Can I see a midwife if I am planning a repeat Cesarean Section? Yes, you can choose to see a Midwife for your prenatal care, who will then work with the OB/GYN to schedule and assist with your c-section.

Will hiring a midwife guarantee that I deliver vaginally?  Unfortunately, no, but your chances for a c-section will be lower – a lot lower. The C-Section national rate right now is at an all time high of 34% versus the CNM rate in a local practice being 12%.

What kind of training do Midwives have? Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who have completed graduate-level training in midwifery and who have passed a rigorous national certification exam.

Is it legal? Because of the high standards established for education and certification, Midwifery practice is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia

Can Midwives prescribe medicine? Nurse-midwives can prescribe medication in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Where will I give birth? Midwives can practice in hospitals, birth centers, homes, private offices, and public clinics.  Some midwives may only deliver in hospitals, while others only deliver at home.

Does insurance cover Midwifery care? Chances are yes. 33 states mandate private insurance reimbursement for nurse-midwifery services, and Medicaid reimbursement is mandatory in all states.

Is a Midwife the same as a Doula? No. A doula provides physical and emotional support (such as breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, reassurance, and comfort) to women during labor. Doulas do not give medical advice, perform clinical tasks (such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate monitoring). Doulas and Midwives often work together as their philosophy and practice is complementary.

By definition, midwife means “with woman”. There are different types of midwives that practice and many times when I tell people what I do for a living I am asked if I deliver babies at home. In the United States, most midwives work in a hospital setting. There are also free-standing birth centers, and there are some midwives who also care for women who choose to have their babies at home.

In general, midwives believe that women need extra time and special attention to be healthy and care for their babies. Midwives believe in supporting women, through all of their decision-making. Midwives generally care for low-risk pregnancies, but are experts in knowing the difference between normal and symptoms that require extra attention. Midwives can also care for women throughout their lifespan, providing well woman care, family planning, health counseling, and menopause care.

The main difference between a midwife and OB/Gyn is in the way that we are educated. Midwives are educated to assume that pregnancy and birth are normal processes of life. Most women are generally very healthy during this time in their life. A midwife will most likely to focus on education and assistance, and help explore alternatives for coping with complications, and generally attempting to minimize technical interventions. An OB/Gyn is educated to believe that there are potential dangers and risks inherent in pregnancy, labor and birth. The primary role of the OB/Gyn is to safely avoid these dangers, be aware of and know how to deal with potential complications and variations that arise and intervene in such situations. They are more likely to monitor and test for these issues and complications.

Choosing a midwife, does not mean that you have take the “all natural” approach. Choosing a midwife means that you will be well-educated and supported through your journey and whatever decisions you make. It is very empowering to see a woman take control and trust her body and what it is capable of doing. But, in the instances where that amazing body does not always cooperate and do what it is “supposed to”, it is wonderful to know that we have options to fall back on.

My personal journey to midwifery came from understanding the difference between these two disciplines and wanting to give women the best possible experience that they could get from their pregnancy and birth. I was mid-way through my pregnancy with my first daughter, when I was introduced to a wonderful midwife, Laura Dellos. The comfort that I felt around her was indescribable  She guided me through the rest of my pregnancy and supported me through a wonderful birth. My other 3 children were also born into the hands of midwives. While working as a labor and delivery nurse, I had the privilege to be present with many families during very happy, and very sad times of their lives. You can make the choice to make a positive, memorable impact, or to just be a bystander. You ask any woman, and she can tell you many stories about her labor and birth experience. I think it is wonderful when they have had a positive experience, and felt supported through whatever decisions she made.

I had always known that I wanted something beyond hospital nursing but was not sure until I was cared for my midwives, what I had been searching for. That was when I decided to start my journey. It took me 6 years (and 3 more babies) to get through my bachelors and masters programs, but the reward has been amazing. My first 2 years out of school were spent working in a large practice in Ames, IA.  I then moved back to the Quad Cities, where I worked in a private physician practice.  I have been blessed to work with many wonderful midwife colleagues and mentors along the way. I have been with The Group since February, and, I am proud to say I have finally found my “home”.  It is so amazing to work with a group of women who understand how hard we work, but also the reward that comes with our career. It is hard to explain the sacrifices we make through our careers. It is difficult to have to miss out on family events, and go countless hours without sleep. But the joy in a parent’s eyes after witnessing the birth of their baby helps make it all worth it.

I love my job as a midwife. There are times when I am asked, “if I could have the perfect job, what would it be?” Honestly, there is not another job that I think I would ever do. Even in the midst of sleepless days and nights, helping families bring their babies into this world is the most rewarding experience I could ask for. I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of the journey of welcoming a baby into the world.  The miracle of birth is such an amazing thing. It never gets old.

When shopping for health care, the bottom line is: be an informed consumer.

One Response to Celebrating Midwives: FAQ

  1. Marlena U. October 13, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    You are amazing, Jenny! 🙂

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