Midwives care for healthy women who have low-risk pregnancies and uncomplicated deliveries. The philosophy of midwifery is to encourage as natural a labor as possible and to provide continuous support for the laboring woman. Besides typically being present for a longer period during labor than a physician would be, midwives favor low medical intervention. In the hospital, however, they support a women’s choice to have epidural anesthesia, and they use other interventions or bring in an obstetrician when necessary.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) frequently share a practice with one or more physicians and consult with them as needed. Having your care provided by a CNM may be more affordable than using a physician. Whether a midwife would be better for you, though, may depend on the level of care you need. In many countries, midwives manage most normal births and leave cesarean or complicated births to their physician colleagues.
Whether to use a physician or midwife is a personal decision. I encourage you to make the choice that feels right for you.
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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.
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