What Is a Midwife?

A midwife is an expert in natural birth, offering competent prenatal care, education for informed choice-making, and empowerment for the woman giving birth.

The Midwifery philosophy is based on concepts of partnership and respect. Midwives consider the childbearing woman to be a partner in her care. Midwives respect birth as a normal life event. Therefore, midwives strive to empower parents with knowledge and support their right to create their own birth experience.

Women have been helping other women with childbirth since the beginning of time. In most of the world midwives are the primary attendant of birthing women. Countries with the best outcomes for mothers and babies are the ones that have the highest rate of midwifery care.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 1990 that birth was actually safer for mothers and babies when utilizing midwifery for pregnancy and childbirth.

The State of Texas recognizes two paths for professional midwives. The first is the Licensed Midwife, LM, who may also be a CPM, Certified Professional Midwife. And second, the CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife.

Birth is a natural, safe and normal life event.

Midwives consider birth a natural event in women's lives. Midwifery is based on the belief that childbirth is natural, healthy process and that most women are fully capable of giving birth. We see pregnancy as part of the full spectrum of life's experiences, and believe women have the right to a fulfilling, safe, childbirth experience.

Midwifery care involves judicious use of technology. Women avoid the risks, discomfort, and disruption that unnecessary procedures impose, yet have the opportunity to use available technology if needed.

Midwives improve the outcome of labor and birth.

National research shows that midwives achieve the same outcomes as physicians without disrupting the natural birth process as often. Research also shows that midwives have reduced cesarean section rates by more than 50% with no compromise in safety. In fact, care from midwives has significantly lower rates of induced labor, episiotomies, and forcep births. Midwives are most actively involved in a woman's preparation forchildbirth. That kind of support reduces the length of labor, avoids unnecessary interventions and improves birth outcomes. Midwifery care is proven to be safe!

Midwives take time to offer care.

Midwives recognize that clients are individuals and because of their personal, cultural, and religious beliefs, every birth experience is different. Midwifery care is ongoing and involves education, health promotion, social support, and clinical assessment. Midwifery encourages mind-body connections, recognizing the spiritual and emotional aspects of birth, allowing women to birth with strength and dignity.

Midwives encourage women and their families to make informed choices, creating an atmosphere in which they can celebrate the miracle of birth, wherever they choose to be. Midwifery is personalized care!

Insurance often covers midwifery care.

Most health insurance plans cover midwifery care, including Medicaid/DSHS, Group Health, Regence and other major insurers.

Midwives are cost effective and improve outcomes. Midwifery care reduces costs through sensible use of technology and tests, and low cesarean section rates without compromising quality or outcome. Midwives contribute to cost savings. With the option of out-of-hospital care, families can reduce costs as must as 30-50%!