How To Find A Midwife In The United States

Employment Training

<P>A midwife is a person, usually a woman, with the knowledge and experience to help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a thriving, healthy baby.  This is done through counseling, education, and support offered to the birthing mother.  Midwifery is dedicated mainly to natural childbirth, allowing the process to take its natural course and calling for medical help only when necessary.  The Midwifery Model Of Care sets standards and guidelines for midwives to follow.  Midwifery is an excellent choice for mothers who have no serious medical conditions.  </P> <P>In the United States, midwives vary greatly in regards to education, experience, expertise, legal status, and credentials.  Midwifery laws by state differ in many ways, including where they can help women with childbirth.  In some, states, midwifery is illegal.  There are different kinds of midwives, and knowing the differences is important for finding a midwife.  </P> <P>There are currently two differing categories of midwives in the United States: direct-entry midwives and nurse midwives.  The direct-entry midwife is licensed and certified by midwifery laws by state, and practice almost exclusively in homes or birth centers.  Nurse midwives have education in both midwifery and nursing, achieving the status of Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM).  Most CNMs practice in a hospital setting, with a few working in childbirth centers.  CNMs generally do not attend home births.  </P> <P>The Midwifery Model Of Care sets standards for the practice of midwifery.  It was devised in 1996 with the primary purpose of defining the practice in order to alleviate the concerns of health care decision makers, and trying to standardize what is required in midwifery laws by state.  The Model of Care includes:</P> <UL> <LI>Monitoring the bothers psychological, social, and physical well-being during the child bearing cycle.</LI> <LI>Providing counseling, education, and prenatal care on an individualized basis.  Hands-on assistance is continuous from pregnancy through labor and delivery, with post-partum support as well</LI> <LI>Minimal use of technology</LI> <LI>Referring women to an obstetrician for medical care as necessary.</LI></UL> <P>The Midwifery Model Of Care focuses on the kind and quality of care, not the definition of the care provider.  It is highly regarded as the standard for providers of maternity care.  A brochure outlining the standards can be ordered from the Citizens for Midwifery.  When choosing a caregiver, ask whether she will follow these standards.  </P> <P>Because of their differing legal statuses from state to state, finding a midwife can be difficult.  Your choices depend on:</P> <UL> <LI>The legal status for midwives in your particular state</LI> <LI>Which of the two kinds of midwives you are searching for</LI> <LI>How many midwives are available in your area</LI></UL> <P>Legal status can be determined by contacting your states department of professional regulation.  If your state requires certification and licensure, you should be able to get a list of practicing midwives in your area from the department.  Some midwives might advertise their services on line, in health care directories, or yellow page phone directories.  In some states where the practice is legal, there is a midwifery organization you can contact for information.  </P> <P>Finding a midwife to help with childbirth is a growing trend, as the midwife becomes a more popular alternative.  No longer seen as a strange or dangerous practice, it is now considered by many to be a more natural choice.  In some areas, getting into the top midwifery centers has become very competitive.  A big advantage to the practice is that the baby never leaves the mother after the birth.  In the hospital setting, the baby is usually taken to a nursery for examination before being returned to the mother.  The entire process is more relaxed than the structures and sometimes stressful hospital setting.  As the American culture shifts towards organic foods and more natural products, the practice of midwifery is rising in popularity as well.</P>