5 Reasons We Chose a Midwife

Years ago I heard about the documentary The Business of Being Born from a friend. A couple days after we found out we were expecting, I sat down and watched it. There are some graphic parts during the film, but overall I enjoyed it and it got me excited about choosing a care provider that was right for me. After a little googling and a couple research phone calls, I scheduled my first appointment with the Methodist Midwife Services. Two weeks later, Eric watched it. I of course wanted him to be on the same team. Before he watched it I think he thought I was a hippie and just wanted to be different. :) (And he has reason to think both of those things, honestly.) But after watching the documentary, he had the same feelings as I did.

So at 10 weeks we went to our first appointment. We both felt certain that we had made the right choice. It was very comfortable and we love the philosophy of care of the midwives we have chosen.

5 Reasons We Chose a Midwife

  • I like attention. (Ha!) We live in a big city where there are many, many births every day. The nurses and doctors are extremely busy and aren't able to provide undivided attention to each birth, nor are they trained in providing supportive emotional care during the labor process. The midwives we have chosen typically assist one birth at a time.
  • Statistically, midwives produce shorter labors with less tearing. I'll have both, please and thank you.
  • I want to give birth in an upright position. I want to let gravity work with me and the baby, and also to create the largest possible opening with my pelvis to get the baby out. This type of birth is standard with a midwife. You may be able to find a doctor in your area who will allow you give birth in an upright position, but I made sure to ask such questions before I scheduled my first appointment.
  • We want to bring our baby into the world as naturally as possible. I'm not completely against pain medication during labor and delivery, but I think there are ways to limit my and the baby's exposure to such things, and we're hoping to do that. (And, I hate needles!)
  • It's cheaper. OK, so it wasn't a reason we chose one, but it's a definite benefit nonetheless.

>> My ideal situation would be to also have the option of a water birth. However, to have a water birth in Des Moines at this time I believe you must also have a home birth. I don't think water births are allowed in Iowa hospitals, although you can labor in the tub. I know hundreds of women have given birth at home successfully, but Eric and I don't (not to mention my mother) feel comfortable with that arrangement.

In general, it seems there is not much education about the choices women have when choosing a maternity care provider. I get lots of questions about what a midwife is and why we are using one. You can have a midwife and also have a scheduled C-section. You can have a midwife and get an epidural. A midwife is not typically a doctor, but they are certified in labor and delivery of low-risk pregnancies. (And, many times they've actually gone through it themselves!)

Side note to interested Des Moines women: Willowsong Midwifery Care is opening a free-standing birth center opening in Des Moines in the summer of 2012, but construction won't be completed in time for us to use it. (I'm not saying I would have chosen that over our current situation, mostly because I envision I will want a longer stay, but, again, I'd love to have the option of a water birth.)

Before you send hate mail, please know: I believe each pregnancy, baby, doctor and hospital is unique. We're planning to be flexible. I don't think women who get epidurals are terrible--I just don't think it's for me. I will never push my birth plan on anyone else; I hope you find out what you want and then make it happen! I believe my body will know how I need to deliver my baby and that it will tell me what I need to do. Safety of me and the baby comes first. Our birth plan may not be followed when baby's birthday comes, but we are learning all we can at this point and making choices based on that.

I would love to hear your thoughts and positive birth stories!