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15 Truths About Midwives (And 5 Things That Are Myths)

Being pregnant can be a fantastic, wonderful adventure. This is especially true for men and women who have never been expecting parents before. But on the other hand, bringing a child into the world can also be a bit much because the expecting parents have to make sure they are keeping both the mother and unborn child in the best health possible.

One of the most important parts of having a baby is choosing the right people who will be there when the mother needs them, whether it is when she is giving birth, or during another important moment in her pregnancy. Furthermore, there are actually a few people the expecting mother can choose to assist her with pregnancy and birth.

While a lot of women automatically choose an obstetrician, especially when it comes to pregnancy, some wish to go a more natural route. Ladies who are seeking a medical support team while they are expecting can choose between a doctor and a midwife. Furthermore, a doula can also be a part of their team, along with the doctor or the midwife. It is always handy to have a doctor around during birth just in case any medical emergencies occur. However, midwives are very useful as well. Here are some interesting truths and myths about midwives.

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20 Fact: They Have Medical Training

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Firstly, it is important to mention that there are many different kinds of midwives. The different types of midwives include direct-entry midwives, certified nurse-midwives, licensed midwives, and certified professional midwives.

Direct-entry midwives are trained through either an apprenticeship, a college program, a university-based program similar to ones required for nursing students, a school that specializes in midwifery, or self-study. However, not all states in America certify these midwives. Certified nurse-midwives are trained to be a midwife as well as a nurse.

Licensed midwives are college educated, and they are trained by the American College of Nurse Midwives. But, not all states certify these midwives.

Certified professional midwives are trained, and they are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. However, certified professional midwives will not be found in every state in America, because not every state certifies them.

19 Fact: They Do Not Handle High Risk Pregnancies Alone

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Doctors are the best men and women one can choose to handle a high-risk pregnancy that could be potentially harmful to the mother, baby, or both. However, one very important detail about midwives is that sometimes they will work with a doctor, though that is not always the case.

In typical cases, while midwives are in fact trained to be medical care providers for pregnant mothers, they do not accept patients who are thought to be high risk. There are a lot of things that can make a woman's pregnancy high risk, including obesity and whether or not she is carrying more than one baby.

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18 Fact: Midwives Are Also Great For Other Health-Related Services

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When it comes to those who have experienced the care of a midwife as well as a doctor at some point in their life, many have said that they had a better relationship with their midwife than they had with the doctor. This seems to be the reason more ladies are choosing midwives over doctors when it comes to pregnancy or female oriented healthcare in general.

Midwives are useful for more than just birth and prenatal appointments. They can also assist women in family planning, as well as perform annual exams for them.

17 Fact: They Have Been Around For Centuries

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There are a lot of things that tend to see a great deal of change throughout history. However, there are a few things that have remained fairly popular and consistent over the course of time.

Midwives definitely fit in here, because their job has been in existence for an extremely long time. So long, in fact, that even the Bible mentions midwives in the books Genesis and Exodus.

While the Bible contains the earliest recordings of midwifery, midwives have been a part of written history quite often since then. In fact, there was at least one midwife on the Mayflower.

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16 Fact: Men Can Be Midwives, Too

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There are a lot of women who are famous for making their way into professions that are typically dominated by men. Furthermore, it seems that men are beginning to step into the world of midwifery.

For the most part, when one hears the word “midwife,” they are likely to picture a woman. Part of this is because some feel that women are better for nurturing and taking care of patients than men are.

However, Hannah Dahlen, professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney and national spokesperson for the Australian College of Midwives feels differently. “The male midwives I’ve worked with are extraordinary human beings. To survive and survive well in a woman’s world takes the development of some amazing characteristics,” said Dahlen.

15 Fact: They Were Once Thought To Be Witches

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One of the most interesting facts concerning the history of midwives is that they were, at one point in time, thought to be witches. This comes as no surprise, though, as many very logical things were once unexplainable and therefore thought to be the work of the devil.

This was especially the case when a miscarriage would happen. Furthermore, they were also accused of witchcraft if something during the birthing process went wrong, as some people considered it their fault. Accusing a midwife of being a witch was, unfortunately, fairly common in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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14 Fact: Those Who Have A Midwife Are Less Likely To Have a C-Section

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Doctors can be great medical care providers for pregnant women, as well as those who are trying to become pregnant in the future. However, there are cases in which an expecting mothers’ doctor will induce her via cesarean section when it is not necessary.

One of the many things midwives are good at doing is making sure the baby spends as much time in the womb as he or she needs. This is a very important thing to do in order to make sure the child develops as much as they need to before being born. Furthermore, midwives are not equipped for performing c-sections. C-section rates among those who chose to have a midwife are typically lower than those who do not.

13 Fact: They Assist Mothers During Home Births

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There are a lot of differences between midwives and doctors, especially when it comes to how they typically handle the birthing process. Also, they share some similarities. However, one of the biggest differences between them is that midwives are often able to help their patients deliver their babies at home.

Lately, it seems that more women are choosing midwives due to them wanting to have natural births. While births that take place in the home and with a midwife may raise concerns for some people, they are actually quite safe, given that the woman has a good midwife and that the pregnancy is healthy.

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12 Fact: Midwives Do Things The Way Their Patients Want Them To

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When expecting mothers choose to have a midwife as their healthcare provider during pregnancy, they are not just signing up for someone to assist them in having a healthy birth and pregnancy. Usually, midwives and their patients tend to create a strong bond during the woman’s pregnancy, as well as the birth of the baby.

One of the reasons this is true is because midwives tend to ask their patients what they want. This level of communication between a midwife and their patient allows the mother to be more vocal about her wishes and concerns. It is for this reason that a lot of women and their midwives tend to have a personal connection with one another.

11 Fact: Midwives Spend More Time With You

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Doctors tend to be very busy, as they usually have a lot of patients that they are caring for. But on the other hand, midwives usually try to spend as much time as is needed with their patients. This is not only true for the birth of the patient’s children, but also during their prenatal and postnatal appointments.

While general practitioners and obstetricians are great healthcare providers, midwives do tend to spend a bit more time explaining things to their patients. Midwives and expecting moms will usually discuss every part of the mother’s life that can be impacted by the arrival of a new child.

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10 Fact: They Take Part In Centering

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There a lot of truly incredible things pregnant women get to experience while they are expecting. This is true no matter what type of healthcare provider they choose.

But, one of the best things about choosing a midwife to be present with you at prenatal appointments, birth, and postnatal appointments is the bond that is shared between the midwife and the patient. Furthermore, just as there are some activities only doctors will have their patients take part in, the same goes for midwives. An activity referred to as “centering” is something only midwives have their patients do, and it allows the patient to bond with the midwife, as well as other pregnant women.

Centering is something that allows expecting mothers who are at nearly the same place in their pregnancy to meet up on certain dates (instead of regular prenatal appointments) and discuss all the concerns of each other’s pregnancy. But, at the beginning of each meeting, the patient will have her blood pressure taken, check her weight, forward this information to a nurse, and then hear the unborn child’s heartbeat before she meets with the other moms.

9 Fact: Their Forceps Were Invented A Long Time Ago

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Midwives have been around for a very long period of time. While their techniques have likely changed a bit over the years, some things have stayed the same.

In fact, one of the tools they are known to use has been around for many years. These tools are very helpful, especially when it comes to the birth of a child.

The origin of forceps has been traced back to the 1600’s, which is when they were invented by the Chamberlen family. They were designed to help the mother have her baby as safely as possible if she was having a difficult birth.

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8 Fact: Some Monkeys Act As Midwives For One Another

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The practice of midwifery is becoming popular again as more people are made aware of what midwives do, and how they can be very helpful, educational, and create a strong bond with their patients. However, recent discoveries have proven that human beings are not the only ones who seem to know a good bit about bringing a new little one into the world, and we are also not the only ones who choose to have midwives.

It was once thought that monkeys give birth alone, and usually at night. But, that is not the case all the time. A couple of years ago, a wild golden snub-nosed monkey was spotted having her baby in the middle of the day, and the most interesting part was that there was another female monkey present who was acting as a midwife.

7 Fact: They Can Work Together With Doctors

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When it comes to pregnancy and birth, there are a lot of misconceptions. This is even more true when midwives are brought into the conversation.

One of the things that some men and women think about pregnancy is that when an expecting mother chooses who will provide her and the unborn child’s healthcare, she must choose either a midwife or a doctor. The truth is, there are some midwives and doctors who work together in collaborative practices.

Midwives and doctors have very similar skill sets. However, there are differences between them as well. That is why collaborative practices shared by doctors and midwives can be quite beneficial for expecting mothers, as they are in good hands no matter what type of birth they wish to have.

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6 Fact: They Can Prescribe Medications

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Over time, midwives have had a lot of limitations on what they can and cannot legally do with their patients. One these limitations used to be the fact that midwives could not prescribe any medicine to their patients.

Instead of being able to do it themselves, those who practice the profession of midwifery once had to refer their patients to other medical professionals if they needed medicine of any kind. These days, however, are a bit different, as there are programs that will allow a midwife to have the authority to prescribe medication once they complete it.

5 Myth: Midwives Are Not As Capable As Doctors

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There are a lot of misunderstandings about midwives. This is the reason there are quite a bit of myths surrounding this profession.

One of the myths about midwives that has been around for awhile is that they are not as reliable and safe as doctors are. But this could not be further from the truth.

All midwives have to go through some training. The amount and type of training depends on what kind of midwife the person in question wishes to become.

In fact, midwives are not limited to being the primary care providers for women. They can also take care of babies until they are six weeks old.

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4 Myth: They Only Offer Holistic Methods Of Pain Relief

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One of the things midwives are most well known for is the fact that they tend to offer natural approaches to childbirth. This includes the methods of pain management their patients typically have access to during labor and delivery.

It is true that midwives offer a lot of alternative pain relief methods. These things include massages, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and acupressure. Additionally, they may encourage patients to try to remain active during the birth, as it can be helpful.

But, one of the myths about midwives is that they limit their patients to those pain reliefs. They are actually able to order pain relief medications for women who choose to have them instead of one of the other pain management methods.

3 Myth: Midwives And Doulas Are The Same Thing

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The roles of midwives and doulas during pregnancy and birth can get a bit confusing at times. In fact, one of the myths surrounding people in both professions is that midwives and doulas are both the same.

However, that myth is far from the truth. The fact is that midwives and doulas are very different, and both of them are beneficial to pregnant women for various reasons.

A midwife can prescribe medications, monitor the health of an expecting mother and her unborn baby, and advise patients on what to do after birth. Doulas, on the other hand, are often more like coaches during birth. They are usually there to coach their patients through birth, as well as keep both the mother and her partner calm and relaxed.

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2 Myth: They Are Not Covered By Insurance

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While midwives have been proven to be very capable and reliable people, some insurance companies may have some strict rules regarding their coverage of midwives. However, one of the biggest myths, as well as one of the more pressing concerns of those who wish to hire a midwife, is that they are not covered by insurance under any circumstances.

In fact, in the state of Washington, there are two types of midwives that are legally covered by any kind of insurance. So, those who wish to have a midwife but are unable to pay for one out-of-pocket should not count themselves out just yet, but they should speak with their insurance provider before deciding on a midwife.

1 Myth: They Do Not Perform Prenatal Tests

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While it is true that midwives are not able to do as much for their patients as a doctor can, there are actually a lot of surprising tasks midwives are qualified for. One of the many myths surrounding men and women who choose to work as midwives is that they are unable to perform the same prenatal tests that physicians are able to do.

The truth here is that they can, in fact, take part in prenatal testing. The only difference between midwives performing these tests and doctors doing it is that, in most cases, these appointments may take a bit more time with a midwife.

References: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Mind Body Green, The Gentle Mid Wife, History 101, What To Expect, All Women's Talk, BBC, Fit Pregnancy, News.Medical.net, Generations Midwifery, Choices In Childbirth, Birth Takes A Village, Washington Midwives, Riley Children's,

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