Heart and Hands:
by Elizabeth Davis
A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth:
From Chapter One: The Midwife, A Profile
"What makes midwifery a desirable birthing option? Simply put, midwifery promotes well-being. It is an art of service, in that the midwife recognizes, responds to and cooperates with natural forces. In this sense, midwifery is ecologically attuned, involving the wise utilization of resources and respect for the balance of nature. This is an exhilarating and important aspect of the work, i.e., supporting life in a way that sustains global community.
Above all, true midwifery care is personalized care. Despite parameters of safety the midwife must uphold, she knows that wellness is an amorphous state, with periodic deviations from normal. Her task is to decipher the unique and ever-changing patterns of her client's well-being. The more thorough and continuous her care, the more likely she is to detect a complication at its inception. And the better she and her client communicate, the more readily will they be able to develop and implement a prompt solution. She and her client are a team, but the locus of responsibility rests with the expectant mother, who is at the helm of her healthcare experience.
Birth is indeed a pinnacle event, but is merely the finishing touch to pre-established intimacy between midwife, mother and her supporters. Every birth has some potential for complications, but with continuity of care, the midwife's competence in handling these is facilitated both by foreknowledge of the mother's condition and by the mother's trust in her abilities."
Facts about Midwifery and Home Birth
Did you know that:
- In the European countries of Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, birthing with midwives is the popular norm.
- In the six countries in the world that lose the fewest babies,the majority of births are assisted by midwives.
- In the US, where the midwife has been marginalized, infant mortality is alarmingly high--we rank number 22 worldwide.
- Complication rates for hospital birth have been shown repeatedly to be about six times greater than for birth at home.
- The physician lobby has repeatedly funded anti-midwifery acts of legal harassment and negative media campaigns.
- Midwives today ascribe to high standards of professional practice.