by Mathilde Vandenbulke
The week of October 2 through 8 has been designated National Midwifery Week by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Choosing to hire a highly skilled, experienced certi ed nurse midwife or a doctor should be a very careful and thorough decision made by any mother-to-be. While many expectant mothers will choose the care of a doctor, others will prefer a midwife.
Midwife concepts are based on the idea that pregnancy and labor are not just medical conditions, but instead an entire humane experience. Whether a woman is a rst-time mother or is giving birth to an additional child, midwifery care recognizes this emotional aspect and offers several advantages:
Midwives accompany the mother-to- be through all stages of her pregnancy, and they always have staff available on standby, should a medical condition arise. They are often present from the early stages of deliveries such as contractions and water breaking, whereas a doctor usually arrives only for labor and delivery. Because of this full attention, the midwife makes labor and delivery a one-of-a-kind, personal experience. In addition, a midwife has more training to make the mother comfortable with the use of different techniques such as birthing balls, squat offer other natural methods to reducebars and hydrotherapy. Midwives are usually also culturally sensitive.
Less Medicalization Equals Fewer Expenses
Most midwives charge for the whole process, but most doctors charge by the hour. According to The Lancet medical journal 2014 series on midwifery, there is evidence of a trend toward the over-medicalization of pregnancy, with consequent hazards and costs such as high Cesarean section rates. Midwives generally have lower Cesarean section rates than doctors and promote less medical intervention during the birthing process.
Midwives Are Childbirth Specialists
While most doctors have to tend to other non-obstetrical patients for gynecological care, midwives specialize in childbirth only and often deliver more babies than the average obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN). They are trained just like doctors to watch for any medical situations and are complementary to OB/GYNs. Should serious medical complications arise, midwives will always transfer their patients to the skilled hands of a medical doctor. Midwives also offer other natural methods to reduce birthing time and alleviate pain, while encouraging the father or other family member of choice to participate in the birthing process by assisting the mother.
Certifed nurse-midwife Judi Supanich serves as the interim director of Nurse Midwifery Services at Wayne State University. “Our current services include prenatal care, labor and delivery and postpartum care. In addition, we provide routine gynecologic care, contraceptive management and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment,” she says. “We are holistic providers in that we care about the entire woman and how our services may better her life. We are sensitive to cultural needs.”
While the staff does its best to accommodate patients’ expectations for their birth experiences, they deliver in hospital settings versus a patient’s home. They do, however, have techniques to promote natural birth, as well as showers at both Beaumont/ Oakwood and Hutzel Women’s Hospital, and a birthing tub for labor management at Hutzel. They strive for low intervention during labor. Natural care is also promoted after delivery. The staff supports and promotes breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact after birth, as well as delayed cord clamping and cord blood collection. 20 Wayne County Edition NaturalAwakeningsDetroit.com
Mary Lewis is a staff nurse midwife at Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Hutzel Women’s Hospital downtown, and she is the former director of the midwifery practice. “Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of the babies and the mothers in our community,” she says. “We have very good support from our physicians and from DMC for this activity, as they recognize we are complementary to the work of the OB/GYN doctors, and not in competition.”
Lewis emphasizes that collaboration between physicians and midwives is key to quality patient care. “Most hospitals in Western Europe deliver through midwives for normal pregnancies, which accounts for the majority of births, and they generally have a better morbidity and mortality outcome than most of the U.S.,” Lewis says. “Women want a midwife because they are in a more comfortable setting. We educate them, we open discussion, and we become friends by the time they deliver. We become like family while encouraging women to be part of their own health decisions, and get them to consider their diets, their health and their emotional needs.”
Celebrate Midwives During National Midwifery Week The holistic approach to pregnancy offered by midwives is built upon a belief that pregnancy care is not just about the uterus, but also about the head, the heart and the whole body of a mother that nurtures a baby human. In addition to the baby’s well-being, the emotional aspect of the mother’s life is to be taken into account.
Lewis says she has never been bored during a single day of her life practicing midwifery. “Every mother and child are different, every body is different, every personality, every background, every family structure, every health issue, every religion, ethnicity or cultural background are different, and it’s a joy to take care of all these women, wherever they come from. We try very hard to accommodate the birth wishes of the mothers. We are advocates for our patients,”
HOSPITALS WITH MIDWIFE SERVICES
Wayne State University Physician Group
4C- University Health Center 4201 St. Antoine Blvd., Detroit
All services, including lab and ultrasound
Office hours Monday, Tuesday and ursday Spanish-speaking midwife
Wayne State University Physician Group
Oakwood Medical Center
18100 Oakwood Blvd., Ste. 300, Dearborn 313-993-4645
Office hours: Tuesdays; lab available
Khansa Medical Center
5220 Oakman, Dearborn 313-581-2121
Lab available; ultrasound available soon
Arabic-speaking sta ; Spanish-speaking midwife
O ce hours ursday and Friday