Midwifery: Advocating for Healthy Birth
Below you’ll find the personal story of Amanda Zopp, writer and social media manager for IAB Health Productions. Following her personal experience, we’ll include some additional information about midwifery.
Before I became pregnant, I always feared labor and delivery. I was confident that I would want ALL the drugs and even hoped I might be able to opt for a C-section. However, something changed when that little life was inside me. I started reading more about the birthing process, the impact drugs could have on my tiny infant and the journey of breastfeeding. I felt a little strange about the prospect of breastfeeding, but I was willing to push past that and the pain of childbirth if it was the very best thing for my baby.
After learning more and realizing my body was designed to birth a baby, I gained a new level of confidence and determination. I went the opposite route and decided, I wanted a natural, drug-free childbirth! I excitedly went to the OB-GYN at 6 weeks along for my first ultrasound.
Scheduling a C-section at 6 weeks Pregnant
When I got there, I began filling out my paper work, medical history etc. When the doctor came in to speak with me she began telling me that due to a pelvic surgery I’d had ten years prior, we would go ahead and schedule my c-section. I was distraught! That wasn’t what I wanted at all. I attempted to explain to her that my orthopedic surgeon had assured me I would have no trouble in childbirth. I had long since healed. I could run, jump, bend! I was very flexible and had even completed the Beach-body Insanity workout, known for its strenuous plyometric exercises. Her only response to me was a blank, “We’ll see.” But that we would go ahead and schedule the C-section. She told me she was concerned about the long-term effects of holding my legs in a position for childbirth over a long period of time. I knew when she said it that the doctor was likely more concerned about a potential lawsuit than any physical effects on me.
She left the room and holding back tears, I turned to my husband and said with determination, “We’re going somewhere else.” I’m so grateful that I knew enough even then to be own best advocate. Women should be in charge of the births they want to have, barring any high risk situation (which mine was not).
A Midwife: Support System and Advocate
I began looking into Midwives in my area and found two Certified Nurse Midwives that were part of a practice with other OB-GYNs. That put my mind at ease. I would be seen by everyone in the practice, but primarily by a midwife. At my first visit, I explained to her the previous doctor’s concerns. The midwife looked at me and matter of factly asked, “Can you squat? Get on your hands and knees? There’s more than one position to birth a baby. If your operating physician said you would be fine, that’s all that matters.” Instantly I felt relief. I was going to have her support to have the birth I wanted, with as little intervention as possible.
I’m happy to report that I have since given birth naturally, drug-free to two children. I’ve had no residual pain or impact on my old injury. I was also able to successfully breastfeed both children until a few months past a year old. Having the support of the midwives felt like a partnership. I had a say in how I wanted my births to go. That was important to me and so empowering. Birth is not an illness. It’s a natural process of life. Women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time. If they could do it then, we can certainly do it now. Explore your options. Find a provider who will listen and give you the best birthing experience possible. You deserve that.
Both a Midwife and OB-GYN are Important
Both OB-GYNs and CNMs are able to provide prenatal, gynecological and primary care in addition to delivering babies. OB-GYN doctors are skilled and trained to handle any complications or issues that may arise. They are trained to intervene. If you’ve ever given birth or seen someone give birth, you know that the doctor who “delivers” the baby, oftentimes merely catches it. The mom is doing all the work!
Midwives are a great choice for any normal pregnancy and delivery. They typically place more emphasis on a woman’s own physiology and ability in childbirth. They seek to avoid and decrease unnecessary intervention. Ninety-four percent of deliveries by Midwife takes place in the hospital. In situations of high risk or medical emergency, OB-GYN’s are the most qualified. Midwives are able to work in partnership with doctors to provide the safest and best experience for the mother, baby, and family.
National Midwifery Week
The American College of Nurse-Midwives has created National Midwifery week, observed September 29th – October 5th, 2019. This week is designed to celebrate and show appreciation for our midwives. We can also use this week to share our stories, spread awareness and promote healthy birth across the nation. Visit our Wellness Observance Calendar for more information.