Choices in Childbirth: Certified Midwives
Today’s expectant mother is presented with an empowering – and often dizzying – amount of choices and information regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Every step along the way a mother-to-be makes her own choices, from the type of prenatal care to the birth environment. One of the first and most important choices a new mother will make is the care provider: whether that’s a traditional OB, a certified Nurse Midwife operating from an OB’s office, or an independent Certified Midwife. In evaluating her care provider choices, a woman will take into account her medical preferences, general medical and obstetrical history, her childbirth philosophies, and often her medical insurance coverage. And as midwifery gains popularity and legitimacy in the American medical community, more and more women are choosing a natural birth with a Certified Midwife.
Most independent certified midwives offer home birth; that is they bring all the necessary medical equipment with them to the home (or the mother collects it before the birth) so the baby can be born in the home, in the mother’s comfortable surroundings. This is preferable for many reasons, firstly because the woman is in her own home – where she is the most comfortable, relaxed and at ease. All her favorite comfort items and tools are immediately on hand: her bath tub, her bed and personal sheets, her family, her music, etc. Furthermore, the mother and child do not have to be moved following a home birth – they are already home. It is the midwives who clean up and leave the family in peace. The midwives will then check in on the family – at home – in the days and weeks following the birth.
Another benefit of home birth is the decreased exposure to new germs and bacteria. It’s counterintuitive to think that the hospital is less sanitary than a home, but it’s true. A woman birthing in the hospital is exposed to many viruses and bacteria that are both new to her and oftentimes more serious than the germs in her home (like the antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA); plus the mother has had time to develop antibodies to any viruses or bacteria present in her home prior to the birth, which she will then pass on to her newborn via her breast milk.
A woman birthing at home with a certified midwife also has the option of a water birth – either birthing or delivering in the water. The warm buoyancy of water is a natural pain reliever, helping the mother to birth in comfort without pharmacological interference. Most women who opt for a water birth buy an inflatable birthing tub because they are larger and deeper than a typical bathroom tub; however a bathroom tub can still provide considerable relief during contractions.
Finally it should be noted that Certified Midwives – particularly Certified Nurse Midwives – are medically trained to handle childbirth for low-risk mothers and babies, including most emergencies that may arise during the birthing or delivery.