“Midwife? Are those still around?? Why wouldn’t I just go to a doctor?” I heard this statement from a friend a few years back and remembered wondering similar things when I was getting ready to choose care for my 2nd child. You see, I had a long, intervention-filled first labor & delivery and I was looking for a different provider who would listen to my birth story and offer me a different path when I was pregnant again. A friend recommended a midwife and I honestly thought, A Midwife? But I want good medical care! She explained to me that not only were midwives TRAINED in women’s health, they actually often had MORE expertise in labor and vaginal delivery than some obstetricians. That got me thinking and researching for myself. Through my readings, I found out that midwifery care leads to lower intervention rates and more patient satisfaction.
In fact, research shows that women who give birth with a midwife are:
Less likely to have a c-section
At lower risk for assisted delivery (forceps, vacuum)
Unlikely to have an episiotomy
More likely to breastfeed successfully
More satisfied with their care
I found a practice here in Hampton Roads that employed both midwives and obstetricians and I was seen by midwives throughout my pregnancy, but had access to the OB’s if I developed any medical condition or was in need of a second opinion as I progressed. I was fortunate to have a low-risk pregnancy and was able to deliver all 9lb 10oz of my son under the care of the midwives! It still is one of my greatest accomplishments and I am certain that the support and encouragement of the midwives led to my feeling positive leading up to my birth and satisfied with my birth experience and care. My son is now 10 years old and I have gone on to photograph these same midwives care for countless women since my own birth. I’ve also witnessed many of our area’s home birth midwives in action and the research on midwifery care has been shown to be true over and over again.
Some midwives work out-of-hospitals and deliver babies at home. Others work inside birth centers or hospitals. But no matter the location, simply having midwifery care has been shown to have long lasting positive effects on women. That’s why we are celebrating midwives during National Midwifery Week! Here are a few quotes from local midwives alongside some images I have taken of midwives in my area listening, counseling, attending births, and celebrating alongside the women they serve! If you know a midwife, reach out this week and thank her for all she does!