How Midwives Support You Through Pregnancy
October 18, 2016
Up until the early 20th century, midwives attended the majority of births in the United States. However, from 1935 to 1975 the number of births in the United States attended by midwives declined to a staggering low 1%.1 A number of factors led to this decline. Advances in modern medicine led more women to choose to give birth in a hospital where a physician could administer anesthesia. Despite evidence that midwives had better birth outcomes than physicians, public education campaigns of the time encouraged women to embrace the new “modern medicine” model.
Since 1975, the use of midwives has been increasing. With new accreditations, training programs and certifications, midwives are able to support women and babies throughout the pregnancy process in more ways than ever before.
Women typically know they are pregnant between four and six weeks after conception. During this early time in a woman’s pregnancy and during each prenatal care visit, a midwife will check the mother’s blood pressure and weight, measure the growth of the baby, listen to the baby’s heartbeat and order and review needed tests. In addition to reviewing physical attributes, a midwife provides the expecting mother with information and resources on diet, exercise, stress management and prenatal vitamins. Midwives are also able to provide support with the physical and emotional changes that occur with pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy and as delivery approaches, the midwife helps the expecting mother develop her birth plan.
Pain Management During Labor2
During labor, women experience many types of pain in a wide range of intensity. Midwives are experts in helping women decide how to cope with childbirth pain. Midwives tap into a number of pain management options include: movement, massage, water immersion, relaxation techniques, epidurals, narcotics or other medications.
Post Birth and Recovery2
Four to six weeks after delivery, a mother will have a postpartum checkup with her midwife. At that appointment, the midwife will examine the size, shape and location of the woman’s uterus as well as other aspects of the reproductive system. Blood pressure, weight, breasts and vaginal discharge will also be evaluated. If the mother had a cesarean birth, her stitches and abdominal wall will be evaluated. In addition to a physical examination, the midwife will discuss parenting, relationship issues, social support, sex, birth control, exercise, diet, breastfeeding and emotional concerns.
As a mother begins breastfeeding, her midwife will serve as a source of information and support. Midwives are able to answer questions and provide guidance on how to breastfeed. They can connect mothers to professional lactation consultants if difficulties arise. In the event of breastfeeding related difficulties, such as infections or sore nipples, midwives can provide solutions to ease and avoid discomfort.
Prenatal Vitamins to Support Mom & Baby
Prenate® is committed to providing nutritional support for mothers and babies. With products designed with the patient in mind, Prenate® offers a line of prescription prenatal vitamins for the stages and special needs of each pregnancy. Talk to your doctor to see if Prenate® vitamins may be right for you to help fill nutritional gaps.