"Midwife or doctor?" I remember this question when I set up my first prenatal appointment and I immediately bought into a specific stigma and sad, sadly, "Who would use a midwife? I definitely want a doctor." Boy, was I wrong. There are plenty of instances when doctors are more beneficial, don't get me wrong. However, there are other situations, however, were having a midwife by your side is beneficial. As a woman who used a midwife instead of a doctor, and knowing that the stigma I bought into is, unfortunately, still at play, I hear many rude and sometimes even inaccurate things about midwives that people need to stop saying.
Personally, I was skeptical about using a midwife, at first. Actually, if we're being completely honest, I didn't even know midwives still existed. As a history major, I knew they were the norm prior to hospital care and modern medicine, but I had no idea that the practice was still around. Close to the end of my pregnancy, however, I began having issues that my doctor waved off as "norma." To me, it did not feel normal, and I definitely didn't appreciate having my concerns completely dismissed. My gut instinct was screaming at me I knew it was worth paying attention to. Thankfully, it was my midwife who caught the problem (that was very real) and possibly saved my baby.
The stigmas surrounding midwives shouldn't be ignored. Instead, they should be combatted and put to rest. Each woman should feel free and comfortable to choose the person with whom she feels more comfortable, regardless of whether it ends up being a midwife or a doctor. In the end, there are so many factors that play into who a pregnant woman, eventually, chooses to assist her throughout her pregnancy, labor and delivery. Some of it has to do with the individual's knowledge and training or schooling; some of it has to do with how well you get along and understand each other and how comfortable you feel communicating with one another. Either way, if you come across a woman who chose to work with a midwife, please stop (or just don't start) saying the following things:
"Midwives Aren't Real Doctors"
Hilarious. My midwife may not have the title of "doctor," but historically, midwives were the only doctors around during labor and delivery. If she has been trained in the art of midwifery and has knowledge of current medical practices, to me, she's more qualified than a doctor (for "normal," no-risk births). You've essentially combined two powerful forces, from the present and the past, when you use the services of a modern midwife. She most definitely is a doctor, thank you very much.
"How Could You Be Comfortable Not Using A Doctor?"
You know, I actually asked myself this question, for a hot minute. Then, after one particular conversation, I instantly trusted my midwife over my doctor. So, yes, I absolutely am more comfortable with her. After all, if I wasn't, rest assured I wouldn't be using her services.
"Well, Your Care Won't Be Adequate"
What? Huh? Um, says who? That's the problem with sweeping generalizations: they're rarely (if ever) based in actual fact. Turns out, many hospitals employ midwives. For me, personally, if someone is capable of being employed by a hospital, as an expert and for their expertise, they're good enough to be employed by me.
"But They Don't Go To Med School..."
Just because a midwife doesn't attend traditional medical school (although, many can and do) doesn't mean they're not qualified or haven't been through rigorous or extensive training. Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives and must meet specific educational criteria before taking an exam to gain the CPM credential. Each state has its own regulations of CPMs but many are beginning to require certification for licensure. Nurse Midwives have, you guessed it, actual nursing degrees, and usually practice in hospital settings. Guys, they know their stuff.
"...So They Don't Know Anything"
Again and, yes, it is worth repeating; just because a person does have the title of "doctor" attached to their profession, doesn't mean they aren't qualified.
"I Would Never Trust A Midwife"
Just because I happen a trust a midwife, definitely doesn't mean you have to. That's your opinion and your prerogative. Personally, I trusted my midwife even more than I trusted my doctor, and your distrust doesn't invalidate my very real, very valid feelings. While you may not trust her, I do.
"They Have No Business Being In A Hospital"
We're crossing into dangerous "insult territory" here, people. My midwife knew to look for the early signs of preeclampsia that I was exhibiting (and that my doctor had waved off twice as "normal"). She is the one who sent me in for testing, which led to my induction and probably saved my daughter's life. Trust me, my midwife belonged in a hospital.