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WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?

A midwife is a person experienced in childbirth who assists women giving birth naturally and safely. She can provide necessary care during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period.

  • She attends a women during childbirth and cares for the newly born infant(s).
  • A midwife advises, educates, and supports birthing women.
  • Midwives have an important task in health education within the family and the community.

WHAT DO MIDWIVES DO?

  • Midwives provide a full range of services, beginning with early prenatal care and often times well women care.
  • Midwives promote good outcomes for mother and infant by encouraging healthy lifestyles through preventative measures, holistic care, and natural means.
  • Midwives provide individualized, skilled and loving support, encouragement, education, and feminine empowerment.
  • Homebirth midwives allow time at prenatal appointments to build a personalized, warm, trusting relationship.
  • Midwives attend the labor and birth, continuously. Midwives can observe the mother and baby using minimal invasive methods to preserve the calm, relaxed atmosphere.
  • A Midwife suggests emergency transfer if necessary. She’s able to recognize deviations from a normal birth.
  • Midwives follow through with the birth process by doing postpartum care for the mother and the newborn baby.

WHAT IS A TRADITIONAL LAY MIDWIFE?

Traditional Midwifery is a particular school of thought of midwifery, which tries to minimize interventions, tests and medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth. Traditional Midwives are often thought of as Keepers of Birth and do not use obstetrical practices, as other midwives are taught to use.

A TM does do or encourage many of the following:

  • Use herbs, homeopathic remedies and good nutrition
  • Natural methods of turning breech babies
  • If needed or warranted, natural methods of induction
  • Exercises: yoga, swimming and walking
  • Alternative birthing positions and use of birthing props
  • Trust in Mother Nature and a Woman’s Intuition

A TM does not do or encourage the following:

  • Frequent, unnecessary or non requested vaginal exams
  • Use of pain medications, pitocin or other medications
  • Excessively restrictive diets like Atkin’s or South Beach
  • Confinement to a bed for labor or birth
  • Constant, if any fetal monitoring
  • Numerous blood and urine tests

A Traditional Midwife seeks to help her clients to achieve something that her client’s body does naturally. Most of the time this means doing nothing at all resembling clinical tasks, but lots of observing, educating, talking and wisdom sharing. Trust in nature and women; these are our first steps in care. It is my hope that when my children have children, there won't be a need for midwives, because every woman will realize, she is her own midwife.

WHY A HOMEBIRTH?

  • The midwife recognizes that there are physiological, emotional, cultural, spiritual and sexual aspects to the labor process.
  • She helps to create and support an atmosphere in which the birth can unfold naturally in the privacy of the woman's home while under the direction of the birthing woman.
  • Midwives understand that women are strong, capable human beings who are fully able to birth their babies safely and lovingly in a calm, familiar environment. Women and babies are designed to experience birth and to come through the experience safely and unharmed.
  • In the homebirth setting there are no routine time limits, routine medical interference or technological procedures.
  • Midwives strive to practice "evidence-based" and “trust-based” care throughout the maternity cycle which eliminates many of the "medical ritualistic" interventions, technology, and procedures that are currently practiced in the medical community, by doctors, MEDwives and hospitals.
  • Each birthing is sacred, unique, and individualized.
  • Women are able to stay more relaxed in a natural, familiar environment without intruding strangers or disrupting work schedules and birth attendant changes.
  • Midwives assist their laboring mothers with various relaxation, meditation and visualization techniques combined with controlled breathing and massage.
  • Midwives encourage women to be up and moving during labor. To eat and drink during labor to keep well nourished and hydrated, thus preventing exhaustion and stress to the mother and her baby.
  • Women are encouraged to change positions and try new options, such as water labor and birthing, if this is what the birthing woman would like to do. This comfortable familiarity, continuum of care, and birthing options helps to contribute to shorter, easier labors, increased maternal confidence, and improved outcomes for mother and child.
  • Homebirth provides far more control and many more choices for a birthing woman as well as for the well-being of her baby.
  • Homebirth and midwifery research studies and statistics have documented the reality of safe outcomes for healthy women and babies.
  • There is significantly less risk of infection and other complications, which include... but are not limited to... hemorrhage, cesareans, and injury & trauma to the mother and baby.
  • When babies are born at home, there are no mistaken identifications between mothers and their babies or unwanted medical procedures performed.
  • The important familial bonding between mothers, babies, fathers and siblings contribute to closer family ties and improved child-parent relationships.
  • In addition, the midwife may provide well-woman care and family planning services.

The material in this website is provided for information purposes only. This information is not a substitute for, medical diagnosis, medical advice, or medical treatment prescription. Consult your health care provider for more information. If you are in Pittsburgh and need a midwife, send email to PghMidwife (at) naturalattachment.com
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