WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?
One of the most holy, natural, energizing (and painful) experiences a woman accomplishes in her lifetime is nurturing her unborn child. To feel it grow and move within her own body and then to give birth to another human soul is the quintessential expression of spirituality. And, it is unique to females (at least human ones).
It is the hope and philosophy of Midwives to provide personal, loving, educated and competent obstetric and gynecological care to all women. This not only includes the hands on facet but also the emotional and support iveaspects. They listen and hear their patients. They empathize and understand the plight women go through.
As a consumer of health care, it is imperative that you be educated to the profession of Midwifery. The misconceptions that plague this profession need to be eradicated. It is equally important that you understand thisnon-physician profession as the health care system as we know it is rapidly changing. Inherent in these changes will be the catapulting of non-physician professionals into an arena that used to be reserved only for the physician. It is already a legislative issue to slate Midwives as primary care providers.
A Certified Nurse Midwife is licensed and registered by a State Board of Midwifery. In order to obtain these credentials a person must complete a nursing program and then continue with graduate studies specifically in the field of Midwifery. Midwifery education consists of the complete knowledge of the female reproductive system. They are taught to diagnose and treat (including writing prescriptions). After their schooling, a graduate Nurse Midwife must pass a national exam (their "boards" if you will). Relative to their role in the health care system, they receive as stringent an education as a physician only not in the medical school tract. In fact, Ivy League schools such as Columbia and Yale University have Midwifery programs.
A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is able to care for the essentially healthy women for her obstetrical and gynecological care. She can render complete prenatal, intrapartum and post partum care as well as the diagnosis and treatment of the many common gynecological problems that affect women. Infact, Midwives manage women in all areas of their OB/GYN health including annual exams, pap smears, birth control, hormone replacement, infertility, and, of course, all aspects of pregnancy and delivery.
Midwives do not do surgery and they do not manage high risk problems. They work within a collegial relationship with a physician with whom she can consult or refer a patient. By law, a Midwife must have a physician to backher up.
Once a person receives their credentials, their personal style can take many forms. The most well known are the Midwives who do home births. In this environment, a Midwife has the ability to assist a couple through the birthing process in a natural and comfortable milieu. It gives the Midwifethe freedom to implement a total non-interventionist philosophy.
To the other extreme, and I believe the least known form of practice, isthe Midwife who chooses to mainstream. They are educated with the non-interventionist philosophy and incorporate that core education with amore expanded approach to providing care. These Midwives work in hospital settings. They can be employed in the Midwifery department of a hospital, or like a physician, they work in private practices and are privileged to attend deliveries in the hospital.
Like the home birth Midwife, they utilize such techniques as talking to, walking with, massaging, medicating and showering the laboring patient tohelp decrease her discomfort. The hospital birth Midwife also has the availability (when she needs to use them) to benefit from modern technology such as fetal monitors, ultrasound, lab analysis and emergency equipment/personnel.
In the mid-path are Midwives that work in birthing centers which incorporatethe home birth atmosphere with many of the hospital's technology. The point is that Midwives are professionals educated to assist a woman in almost any environment the patient chooses.
No matter where a Midwife chooses to practice they bring with them compassion, interest and sensitivity combined with an educated, professional expertise. If you would like further information in regard to Midwifery practice or if you would like to locate a Midwife in your area, please call the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) in Washington D.C.at (202) 728-9860.
Note: OB/GYN Nurse Practitioners are also professionals educated inproviding complete health care to women. They do not attend deliveries.
Written by: Stacey Stich
Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Birthworks The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth Citizens for Midwifery Doulas of North American (DONA) Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE) Childbirth Enhancement Foundation Lamaze International ICEA Maternity Center Association National Association of Childbearing Centers (NACC) Postpartum Support International National Association of Postpartum Care Services (NAPCS) La Leche League Midwifery Today
4805 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lilburn, GA 30047
(888) 923-MANA (6262)
(801) 720-3026 (fax)
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20006
Childbirth Education, Doula and Citizens’ Organizations
PO Box 2045
Medford, NJ 08055
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-5224
PO Box 82227
Athens, GA 30608-2227
1100 23rd Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
Jessica Porter, Executive Director
PO Box 382724
Cambridge MA 02238-2724
1004 George Ave.
Rockledge, FL 32955
1200 19th Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036-2422
P.O. Box 20048
Minneapolis, MN 55420
281 Park Avenue South, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10010
-- or www.maternitywise.org also works.
(Write and enclose $1.00 for guidelines and brochure.)
3123 Gottschall Road
Perkiomenville, PA 18074-9546
927 North Kellogg Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA
800 Detroit St.
Denver, CO 80206
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
1304 Kingsdale Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
1400 North Meacham Road
Schaumberg, IL 60173-4048
PO Box 2672
Eugene, OR 97402
AIR PURIFICATION AROMATHERAPY BABIES BEDDING BIRDING BODY CARE BOOKS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS CAMPING CATALOGUES CLASSIFIEDS CLEANING PRODUCTS CLOTHING COMPUTER PRODUCTS CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANTS CRAFTS ECO KIDS ECO TRAVEL EDUCATION ENERGY CONSERVATION ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES ENGINEERING FITNESS-YOGA FLOWERS FOODS FOOTWEAR FURNITURE GARDEN GIFTS HARDWARE HEMP HERBS HOUSEHOLD INDUSTRY INVESTMENTS JEWELRY LIGHTING MAGAZINES MUSIC NATURAL HEALTH NATURAL PEST CONTROL NEW AGE OFFICE OUTDOORS PAPER PETS PROMOTIONAL RESOURCES RECYCLED SAFE ENVIRONMENTS SEEKING CAPITAL SHELTERS SOLAR-WIND TOYS TRANSPORTATION VIDEOS VITAMINS WATER WEATHER WHOLESALE WOOD HOW TO ADVERTISE
* * * IN-HOUSE RESOURCES * * * WHAT'S NEW ACTIVISM ALERTS DAILY ECO NEWS LOCAL RESOURCES DATABASE ASK THE EXPERTS ECO CHAT ECO FORUMS ARTICLES ECO QUOTES INTERVIEWS & SPEECHES NON-PROFIT GROUPS ECO LINKS KIDS LINKS RENEWABLE ENERGY GOVERNMENT/EDUCATION VEGGIE RESTAURANTS ECO AUDIO/VIDEO EVENTS COMMUNICATIONS WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ACCOLADES AWARDS E-MAIL MAILING LIST
Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA)
American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth
Citizens for Midwifery
Doulas of North American (DONA)
Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE)
Childbirth Enhancement Foundation
Maternity Center Association
National Association of Childbearing Centers (NACC)
Postpartum Support International
National Association of Postpartum Care Services (NAPCS)
La Leche League