Midwives are trained professionals who care for women during pregnancy and birth. They also provide valuable postnatal support, such as nursing advice and newborn care training. While an obstetrician attends a medical school to learn about pregnancy and birth, apprentices in midwifery are trained by certified, experienced midwives in a hands-on setting. You can find midwives working in hospitals, birthing center, or from private home offices. There are an estimated 15,000 midwives in the United States alone, with approximately 10% of births being attended by midwives. If you are wondering if a midwife might be right for you, there are a few advantages to take into consideration before making your choice.
- Midwives Are Affordable
For many women in a low-risk category, a midwife can be an affordable, safe option. The cost of giving birth in a hospital is very expensive and can be financially crippling for some. Despite insurance coverage, many new parents find themselves with a hospital bill of several thousand dollars or more, depending on the type of services rendered. By contrast, most midwives charge between $2,000 and $4,000 for services. These services include prenatal and postnatal care, attending the birth, new parent counseling and advice sessions, as well as a "birthing kit" for mothers who choose home birth.
- Midwives Offer More Choice
An experienced midwife will almost always allow a woman to give birth in whatever safe setting she chooses. This may include a hospital, birthing center, or even home. Many midwives are also trained to accommodate water births as well. Some can even act as a doula, or birthing coach, as well as the caretaker during labor.
- A More Holistic Approach
If you are looking for a more natural birth, free of painkillers or medical intervention (such as an epidural), a midwife can be a good choice. Midwives usually take a more holistic approach to pregnancy and labor; they often coach and encourage a woman to give birth naturally, which may help speed recovery times for both baby and mother.
- Midwives are Trained Professionals
A certified midwife knows more than just the basics of delivering a baby; they are trained and have hands-on experience to handle many situations that can arise in a healthy pregnancy. Many certified midwives have additional medical education, both formal and informal, to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.
- More Personal Prenatal Care
Midwives offer more personal prenatal care than you might experience at an office visit with a busy obstetrician. Appointments with a midwife may last an hour or more, and will usually take place at your home or at the home office of the midwife. Additionally, midwives usually do several home visits after the birth of the baby to help support new parents and answer any questions they may have.