The term “midwife” Is an Old English phrase that means “with woman.” Midwifery in the United States began with a woman named Mary Breckenridge who wanted to deliver health care to people living in the remote Appalachian Mountain region. She brought European nurse-midwives to America to help establish midwifery in the United States.
Midwifery is a field of medicine that focuses on providing care for women of childbearing age. A midwife is able to provide prenatal care during all three trimesters as well as deliver the child and support the mother during the postpartum period. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about midwives and what their qualifications and roles are in terms of caring for mother and baby. Here are some common midwife myths and the truth behind them:
Myth: Midwives only deliver babies in homes.
Fact: While home births do exist, the majority of midwife deliveries take place in a traditional hospital setting. Women do not have to choose between a hospital birth and midwife care. Midwives, however, tend to spend more one-on-one time with the mother and baby in the hospital room, including moments before, during and after delivery.
Myth: Midwives don’t provide pain medication or offer epidurals
Fact: Midwives are medical providers with the authority to prescribe necessary pain medication as well as order epidurals. However, midwives carry the additional expertise to help women manage pain without intervention or help them delay the use of drugs, which may include various positions and laboring techniques.
Myth: Midwives aren't formally trained.
Fact: Every licensed midwife in Georgia has undergone extensive training and practice experience. Many are nurses with a Master’s degree in their specialty and a board certification. Certified Nurse-Midwives have a nursing degree, specialized training in midwifery and meet a specific number of deliveries before they practice. Licensed midwives complete a 3 to 4 year bachelor level degree in nursing or midwifery and must pass a national certification exam from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).
Myth: Midwives only deliver babies.
Fact: Nurse Midwives are equipped to provide a full scope of care within women’s health. They provide gynecological care, including annual exams, birth control and family planning, as well as complete prenatal and postpartum care.
Now that we’ve cleared the air about what a midwife can and can’t do, what is best for you? At North Pointe OB/GYN, we realize that every woman has unique needs and preferences when it comes to their prenatal care and birthing experience. Therefore, we are proud to offer a wide variety of providers, ranging from certified nurse midwives to high-risk care obstetricians. We are happy to give you more information about midwifery so that you can make an informed decision about your care. Call North Pointe OB/GYN Associates today to schedule a consult with one of our talented and skilled midwives in Cumming.