By: Sylvia Anderson
The experience can be so much more enriching than a quick 10-minute check-up or having your doctor look in on you every 30 minutes or so to determine how much you're dilated.
One option, that's become a bit more popular of late, is to enlist the help of a nurse-midwife. These individuals follow the same safety standards as an OB/GYN, but they are trained to "teach." So, for example, they talk a lot about what's going on with the woman's body, and discover what she's afraid of and how she envisions the birthing process. Midwives also try to include the whole family.
According to nurse-midwife, Patricia Harman, who has been delivering babies for 30 years, midwives have a higher rate of vaginal deliveries, partly because that's their specialty. They don't do c-sections, nor do they use forceps, so they get really good at getting the babies out the most natural way possible.
What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
Doulas are people who are specially trained to act as a support system, both pre- and post-birth. They accompany expecting mothers to the hospital when it's time to give birth; they just can't deliver the baby or order pain medications.
Home births are on the rise, but are they safe? Harman says that for the low-risk woman who can find a highly competent midwife, home birth is a wonderful option. But, she stresses they must be very low-risk.
Even though home births are becoming more popular, most midwives work in a hospital or birthing center environment.
Will your insurance cover a midwife's services?
Insurance companies typically cover nurse-midwives, but, according to Harman, your insurance is more likely to cover the cost if your midwife is in a hospital or birthing center, as opposed to a home birth setting.
In the accompanying audio segment, Patricia Harman joins Andrea and Lisa to share more about her experiences as a midwife and why this is a wonderful option for mothers and families. She also talks a bit about her book, Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journey.