By Karen Winstead, CNM
Photo by Mindful Light Photography, 2019
Although I had already been thinking about it for a long time, I decided at that point we needed better care for pregnant women, and that something had to be done.
I started looking at other methods for providing maternity care. I asked questions like: What has worked best in the past? What do studies show? What do women want?
Over the course of time I became convinced that women fared better under the midwifery model of care, which treats pregnancy as a normal period in a woman’s life, and offers ongoing support, information, and individualized care in a way not available in the current medical model of care.
Midwifery includes spending time getting to know the woman in a personal relationship.
This allows for more information exchange, evaluation of emotional and spiritual issues, and knowledge of strengths and weaknesses. The emphasis is on what the woman thinks is best for her, her baby and her family.
Midwifery encourages women towards healthy lifestyles at this critical juncture in life when her health is linked to her baby’s health.
Midwifery, like any other part of the healthcare system, is interdependent on other specialties, such as chiropractic care, medicine, surgery, nutrition, etc. Midwives collaborate with these other specialists based on each woman’s needs. Midwives are trained as the providers of normal pregnancy in healthy women who can deliver their own babies.
On the other hand, obstetricians are trained as surgeons who provide care for women with medical conditions or special needs or whose babies have medical conditions or special needs. When obstetricians care for normal, healthy women, we see a higher percentage of unnecessary surgical birth and other interventions.
In most developed countries, and in many of the developing countries, midwives provide the basic maternity care. Women are then referred to a physician for medical care when it is needed.
In short, I found midwifery care to be safe, economical, environmentally friendly, satisfying to women, strengthening for families, and helpful to building a sense of community among the families served by the neighborhood birth center.
After two years of praying, asking God to bring some nurse-midwives to our area, I understood God telling me I needed to go to midwifery school.
Although I disagreed with God for quite a while about His plan, I finally told God I would go if He would do two things: 1) provide someone to go with me and 2) convince my husband, too.
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