Midwives are healthcare professionals who assist with pregnancy, as well as childbirth and the care of newborn babies. They can also help women to manage their postpartum health and offer advice on caring for a baby, breastfeeding, and nutrition. Midwives tend to adopt a woman-centered approach, and one which prioritizes natural births. Women who plan to have their baby at home will often choose a midwife to guide them through the process.
In what kind of facilities do midwives work?
Although midwives are not often physicians, they work together with gynecologists and obstetricians. This ensures women can access the care they need in a timely way and that no unnecessary risks are taken. Midwives practice at hospitals, birthing centers and clinics, but they can also visit a patient’s home to care for them.
Midwives have early appointments with patients
The number of appointments a patient needs to have will vary depending on their pregnancy and the number of children they already have. For first-time moms, there are usually more appointments than for those who already have children. When specialist care is required, it is written into the patient’s notes and these appointments will be in addition to the regular midwife meetings.
How do regular appointments benefit pregnant women?
Most women have confirmed they are pregnant by the time they see a midwife at the eight to 12-week point. At this and other appointments, the midwife assists in several ways. Women often have many questions, and a midwife can help with these. They will discuss things such as which antenatal screening and tests are needed and when these are performed. Women are given a chance to explain what kind of birth they would prefer and ask how they will be monitored as their pregnancy progresses.
A holistic approach
Providing answers is a vital part of a midwife’s work, as these discussions can reassure women and help them cope with the changes they are going through. Along with providing care, midwives are advocates for women. It’s not just about the pregnancy, as midwives are dedicated to providing care that touches on their mental health, social situation and more. Nurses with a passion for providing this kind of support might want to explore the online midwifery programs at Baylor University. Offering several yearly intakes, the course welcomes a diverse range of students and has a selection of financial packages to provide support.
What kind of examinations do midwives perform?
Women attending an antenatal appointment will be examined by the midwife in several ways. These checks are designed to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally. Firstly, midwives ask if the patient is happy to have their urine checked for protein and glucose. This is to check for common conditions, such as gestational diabetes, UTIs or preeclampsia. They will also take the patient’s blood pressure, to ensure they are not suffering from hypertension. Finally, the midwife takes a look at the patient’s stomach to assess how the baby seems to be growing. They will confirm it is reaching the expected milestones and also take this opportunity to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.
How does the care change as a pregnancy progresses?
In the final few months of a pregnancy, midwives ask a few questions about the baby’s movements and try to identify which position it is in. As the pregnancy moves into its last weeks, most babies are in the anterior position and best placed for a vaginal birth. Occasionally babies are in a breech position or a transverse lie, both of which can result in complications. Midwives safeguard the mother and her child by making a note of this and taking the necessary steps during labor.
What if a patient has specific needs during their pregnancy?
Midwives support pregnant patients with a range of different needs, they are even called upon to support parents who have experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage. After completing a relevant training course or courses, midwives can offer various areas of specialization. They may be able to offer advice to people with asthma and assist women with gestational diabetes, or type 1 or 2 diabetes. When a patient has a highly specific or individual set of needs, midwives can collaborate with other medical services to ensure the patient is well cared for throughout their pregnancy and beyond.
The role of midwives during labor and birth
Midwives play a supportive role during labor and when the baby is born, however, they are experienced medical professionals who are also trained to identify problems. As the labor progresses, midwives are available to answer their patient’s questions and encourage them when the going gets tough. They can also suggest strategies that might move the labor along and will monitor the baby’s heartbeat to see how he or she is doing. Should a woman request pain relief, a midwife can administer it or ask a physician to do so.
Do midwives manage births independently?
Depending on the hospital, a midwife may monitor a woman’s progress during labor and simply keep the ward’s obstetrician updated. In some cases, they will ask for the obstetrician to be present for the birth. When a woman requests a homebirth, her midwife will provide care throughout the labor and birth. If they have any concerns or if a serious complication arises, a midwife will call for an ambulance and advise the hospital that intervention is required.
Will mothers see the midwife after their baby is born?
Yes, it’s possible to see a midwife in the six to eight-week period after giving birth. At these times, the midwife plays a supportive role in helping new moms adjust to the many changes in their life. They make sure both mom and baby are coping in terms of their health as well. If there are any questions or concerns, they can either provide advice or point a patient in the right direction. Once a new mother feels more established, they are passed into the care of other health professionals and services.