What is the midwifery model of care?

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Women are the center of midwifery model care.

Midwives believe that women are experts in their own bodies and work with them to achieve desired outcomes. A trusting relationship between the woman--and her family or support people if she desires--and the midwife is at the heart of midwifery care.

Midwifery care is for all women at all stages of the life cycle.

While the mention of midwives often conjures images of pregnancy, birth, and babies, midwives are just as important to well-woman care.

The midwifery model of care assumes that transitions such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are normal life events that do not require routine intervention. Midwifery supports these normal processes but can also provide medical intervention when desired or necessary.

Midwives aren't mid-level providers.

In many parts of the United States, Buffalo included, you may see midwives referred to as mid-level providers--a term that is both incorrect and demeaning. Midwives are experts in wellness and holistic health care. While they may not be educated and equipped to deal with high risk pregnancies or women with a multitude of health complications, they specialize in the type of care that most people need--the kind that provides education and support to keep them healthy.

Evidence supports the midwifery model of care.

Studies show that--using pregnancy and childbirth as example--midwives utilize interventions less frequently but have the same or better health outcomes for women & babies as physicians. While not many studies have been done on well-woman care, the same is probably true.

The midwifery model of care is appropriate for any setting.

From outpatient clinics to labor & delivery to out of hospital birth, midwifery care is highly translatable across various healthcare settings. In the United States, certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are licensed in all fifty states and provide care at a variety of settings; certified professional midwives or licensed midwives, which are licensed only in some states, generally provide care for out-of-hospital birth.

 

Maura Winkler is a nurse midwife, board-certified lactation consultant, labor & postpartum doula, and the founder of Fika Midwifery, Chicago Birth & Baby, and Buffalo Birth & Baby.