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The midwifery model of care differs fundamentally in its approach to pregnancy, labor and birth. Unlike the medical model which defines these processes from a pathological perspective, midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal, natural processes with physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial components. The midwifery model of care is characterized by:
The word midwife means “with woman” and our care is very time intensive. Midwives spend about 45-60 minutes at each prenatal visit. (A typical visit with an obstetrician is about 5-10 minutes, after waiting for up to an hour or more!) We spend this extra time getting to know our clients, addressing concerns, answering questions, and providing plenty of information. Midwives know that feelings, hopes, fears, physical and practical needs, and spiritual or religious beliefs can all affect your pregnancy and birth. We aim to address all of these needs so you can give birth naturally, safely, and confidently.
Midwives focus more on the importance of nutrition and exercise than most doctors do. We help to empower you to discover your body’s ability to give birth in its own way and its own time and to trust the process and yourself. Midwives provide sensitive, attentive care throughout your pregnancy and birth. We provide continuous, one-on-one support and monitoring throughout labor. In the hospital setting, doctors follow an on-call schedule so you may not have the same doctor during your birth that you had during your pregnancy. In addition, doctors do not come in until you are about to push your baby out, so it is the nurses who will be with you during most of your labor.
In the midwifery model, you have the peace of mind that the midwife with whom you developed a trusting relationship during the pregnancy will be the one with you when you’re giving birth. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement on Health Promotion and Birth in 1986 “Midwives are the most cost effective and appropriate primary care givers for all pregnant women in all instances and all settings”. Finally, the midwifery model of care results in less chance of complications, fewer interventions (including cesarean section) and a healthier birth for you and your baby.
Whereas the cesarean rate for an obstetrician typically ranges from 25-50%, the cesarean rate for midwives is usually 3-10%, well below the World Health Organization’s recommendation for safe cesarean rates.