The Benefits of Midwifery

Claire Olsen Composition 1 Paper 5 MW 2:50pm The Benefits of Midwifery, Or Why You Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Doctor We often look at forward progress as the most beneficial direction to take in life. That which is newer is seen as “better. ” We’re reaching a point where cell phones are getting so small, that a phone’s buttons are often too small for those with larger fingers. We so often convince ourselves that we must have the newest and the latest, and that that which is antiquated is inferior, when it often isn’t.

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Sometimes, a regression to the past is a step forward. Midwifery is, simply put, the act of old-fashioned assisted newborn delivery, and has been practiced since babies were being born. Many people assume that you need a doctor to carry out a successful delivery and have a healthy baby, when all you need is a well-trained and caring hand. There are many forms of midwives, both trained and untrained, but by today’s legal standards, a trained midwife is, …A trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy birth, offering expert individualized care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle,” (Citizens for Midwifery). The Certified Nurse Midwife, the most highly-trained midwife, is often the best choice for a soon-to-be mother, as they arguably have the most vast and functional knowledge and ability in birthing, helping a mother’s newborn be born as healthily as possible.

CNM’s attain their Bachelor’s in Registered Nursing and have at least a few years’ experience as a Registered Nurse before progressing on to a Midwifery graduate program. The program typically lasts several years, and then the CNM candidate must pass a rigorous national certification exam to practice throughout the United States (AllNursingSchools. com). Most midwives don’t reach certification until their mid-thirties, as it takes nearly as long to become one as it does to get an M. D.

It really is mostly those ignorant to how much training a CNM must undergo before they are certified that are the ones afraid of taking their unborn child out of a doctor’s hands and placing him or her into a midwife’s. Midwives generally step in around the conception of the baby, though some offer family planning services before the fact. They can provide routine physical examinations and pap smears on the mother, and also teach women about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and the prevention of them being spread.

After conception, midwives check in as often as every few days to monitor the status of the mother and that of the baby throughout pregnancy. The midwife is even licensed to prescribe most medicines (Sonnenstuhl). All a soon-to-be mother need do if she needs medication is call on her midwife, rather than make an appointment with a doctor that they won’t be able to meet up with for weeks. Yet another wonderful aspect of having a midwife (instead of a doctor who is often nearly a stranger) is that midwives are present throughout a mother’s entire pregnancy, and often become a friend and a companion.

They, in the very least, become a very familiar face that one can always turn to for help or for answers to just about any question about pregnancy. When it comes to the actual birthing of their baby, most people take the road-most-traveled and wait until their water breaks to run to the hospital to meet the highly-paid physician possibly only minutes before labor, who then promptly delivers the child and walks out the door. Childbirth is an extremely personal experience, and having a person to whom you are a stranger take such an important role can make the entire endeavor a nightmarish experience.

It almost seems that so many are paranoid that having anyone but a physician performing the job of delivering their newborn, that the baby will end up being born with a tail. Midwives always come extremely prepared for delivery and keep a kit handy that will cover any childbirthing need. Peggy Vincent, a licensed midwife since 1980, is one such midwife. Her list of supplies in her kit includes: “…An ultrasound Doppler set, adult and baby stethoscopes, blood pressure cuff, baby thermometer, cord clamp cutter, cord clamps, tubes for collecting cord blood, syringes, needles, IV intercatheters, IV solution,

IV setup, alcohol swabs, suture material, infant airway and rescue blanket, receiving blankets, gloves, KY jelly, 4 x 4 sterile gauze packets, baby scale and flannel sling, sterile clamps and scissors, blood drawing bag, oxygen tank and masks for mother and baby, gloves…” (Vincent, 328-329). As people realize how knowledgeable and prepared midwives come for the birthing experience, midwife deliveries are slowly being rediscovered as the much more personal and enjoyable childbirth experience, while also having very high success rates.

Many mothers fear that in childbirth, if they decide on using a midwife, that they won’t have the option of having an epidural administered. As mentioned before, midwives can prescribe medications, one of which is the epidural (Graninger). It is a common misconception that midwives are nothing more than new-age hippies that don’t believe in the utilization of painkillers during childbirth. While there are a number that stand by this holistic practice, there are plenty that believe strongly in the usage of the epidural to further positively enhance the process of labor.

A midwife’s true mission is to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the mother, not to force the mother to do something that she’d rather not do. Finally, once the child is born, the midwife is present for several weeks, and will provide education on caring for and raising your infant as ideally as possible, and even includes education in breastfeeding (Epigee Women’s Health). The midwife will typically stay present until the mother sees fit to the midwife departing, as they feel confident enough in their knowledge of their newborn.

Choosing a midwife instead of a doctor is a strange, new idea that is one of the oldest ideas around. While it can be scary stepping away from the care of a licensed OB-GYN, all mothers can find solace in the fact that their newborn will be born just as healthily with a midwife as with a doctor, and will very often find it a much more comfortable, familiar experience. Works Cited Periodical 1. Graninger, Elizabeth M. CNM, MSN; McCool, William P. PhD, CNM. “Nurse-midwives’ use of and attitudes toward epidural analgesia. ” Journal of Nurse Midwifery 43. (1998): 250-261. ScienceDirect. Web. 5 May. 2010. Book 2. Vincent, Peggy. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife. New York: Scribner, 2002. Print. Website 3. “Frequently Asked Questions About Midwives and Midwifery. ” Citizens for Midwifery. Web. 5 May. 2010. 4. “Become A Certified Nurse Midwife. ” AllNursingSchools. com. Web. 5 May. 2010. 5. Sonnenstuhl, Pat. “What Can Midwives Do? ” Stason. org. Web. 5 May. 2010. 6. “Pregnancy and Prenatal Care: Midwives, Childbirth, Natural Birth, Homebirth. ”Epigee Women’s Health and Fitness. Web. 5 May. 2010.

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