5 reasons to consult a midwife during your pregnancy (even if you’re not planning a home birth)
Midwives are awesome, y’all. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs, sort of like advanced practice nurses with a Midwifery specialty), and Certified Professional Midwives (who mostly do home births), and Direct-entry Midwives, and all the other handful of educational pathways a person can take to become a midwife, are all referred to under the same umbrella: midwives. The midwife model of care - continuous care by one provider, time spent with the pregnant person, and woman-led and woman-centered care - have been proven in multiple studies to have better outcomes for all birthing people, especially those with a low risk profile. But, if you are not a low risk profile, or you otherwise need to be giving birth in the hospital with a doctor, having a consult with someone who operates, or can operate, outside of the general medical system, can still benefit you. Here’s why:
Midwives can give you recommendations for good doctors. A provider doesn’t have to be a midwife to provide feminist or patient-led care, so they can give you the scoop on which doctors they perceive to be following evidence-based care, or who practice the midwife model of care.
They can spend time with you: doctors often only have 15 minutes or so for a routine appointment, but CPMs I have met can spend an hour and a half with their clients to answer residual questions, talk through emotional issues regarding health, or just provide companionship and kindness.
They can be consulted on nutrition and diet. Doctors don’t often get training on nutrition, so they refer out. Hospital nutritionists also often have a limited understanding of how good food can support a healthy pregnancy. If you want an alternate, or more thorough view of how nutrition, vitamins, exercise, and sleep can all help support healing and growth in pregnancy, visit a midwife.
They can help you find a good doula. While doulas and midwives’ roles are different, our goals in helping women feel supported and in charge of their births are in common with one another. Midwives may have helpful opinions on which doula might fit your personality best, or which are most experienced.
To get an alternate point of view. I believe the best way to get a fully informed view of an issue, such as gestational diabetes, or home birth, it takes listening to opinions from both sides of the spectrum. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Midwives can often offer a biological or cultural explanation for why a doctor might set out a certain rule in their practice, or give more detailed explanations of how your doctor might be trying to mitigate risk. Being experts in normal physiology, they can help give an alternative perspective on any unusual physiology you might be treated for by a doctor.
Doctors are excellent sources of information, and are experts in their field of medicine. But sometimes it’s a good idea to open up your sources of information in order to get a more well-rounded perspective on your health. I hope you use midwives and other alternate resources to gather information to make the most informed decisions possible. Happy informed decision-making!