I recently reconnected with my best friend from high school and learned she was expecting her first child. What an exciting conversation! I absolutely love talking with new to-be mums who are experiencing the joy of pregnancy for the first time. I remember it being the most incredible, wondrous time in my life! Well my friend was bursting at the seams with joy and had so many questions for me about my experiences. Her main questions were around having a midwife. Although it is much more common here in British Columbia than it is in Ontario where my friend lives, there is still a bit of mystery and misperception around the age old birthing practice of midwifery.
Let’s start off by dispelling the myths. Midwives are not scraggly grey haired elderly women dressed in cloaks who study witchcraft in some commune and frolic naked in the forest when they are not delivering babies. To become a midwife requires a university degree in midwifery that leads to a bachelor of health sciences. Although requirements vary slightly from province to province, midwives are very well trained professionals who, by the time they become “registered”, must assist in a minimum of 60 births. They are required to have experience attending both home and hospital births. What’s interesting to note is that medical doctors are not required such an extensive clinical birthing experience.
The benefit most women find in choosing the services of a midwife over traditional care is the informed choices that are provided throughout every aspect in the birthing experience and the relationship that is developed from early pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum. Prenatal appointments are generally around 45 minutes in length and gives the expecting families the opportunity to discuss the pregnancy and birthing options. The entire birth is then managed by the midwife and can provide tremendous peace of mind to the expecting mother.
Another myth is that choosing a midwife equates to home birth. While this may be an option for some women, many prefer hospital births and midwives allow that freedom of choice. They are also bound to transfer primary care to a physician if complications arise that fall outside of their expertise. This seemed to be the sticking point for my friend. Here in Canada, you do have to choose either a midwife or physician, however you never lose your physician for non-pregnancy related issues and have full opportunity for a quick switch back if need be.
I’m not sure if I convinced my friend to choose midwifery after our hour long conversation, but it sure did bring back the most wonderful memories of my life and my children endured another rendition of their birth stories when I got off of the phone.
Did you have a midwife? What was your experience? Send us your comments. Also, don't forget to sign up on our website at www.cocoandtini.com to receive news of exciting upcoming promotions.