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The Responsibilities and Role of a Midwife

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When people think about having a baby, especially in developed countries, they think of the normal doctor visits and eventual delivery at the local hospital. There are other options as well. For one, there is the option of a using a midwife.

Just exactly what is a midwife and what are her or his responsibilities? It is important to know that a midwife is a health care professional. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the services a midwife can provide for a patient varies from “medical histories and gynecological examinations, contraceptive counseling, prescriptions, and labor and delivery care." As a matter of fact, what makes this type of birth option particularly attractive is the fact that it is a specialty in not only labor and delivery assistance, but in post-labor and delivery care as well.

Depending on the midwife’s education, certifications and/or background, the services provided may include performing annuals, family planning and preconception care, regular prenatal care, labor and delivery support, newborn care and even menopausal management as revealed by the APA. Additionally, the APA indicated that usually most midwives can perform the following: reproductive education to assist with fertility issues, contraception, pregnancy health, breastfeeding and quality infant care. Also, many individuals are attracted to this option because of the economic benefits.

But then, some may ask, what if something goes wrong during the delivery? Very good question. That’s why most midwives work along with regular doctors and hospitals. Normally, the pregnancies that midwives deal with are considered low-risk. But if a pregnancy turns into a high-risk pregnancy, midwives refer the patient to the proper professional. Even though the birth itself can be in the patient’s home, it can take place in a birthing center or hospital just in case of any emergencies.

Peter Schlenzka, of the Department of Social Work and Sociology of Ferrum College, was quoted by the APA that using this option may:

Lower maternity care costs
Reduce mortality and morbidity related to cesarean and other interventions
Lower intervention rates

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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