Switching to a midwife early in my pregnancy meant leaving a doctor I thought was great, a practice that was nearby, and waiting 4 more days for my first prenatal appointment. That four day wait was almost the deal breaker. My current doctor had the highest C-section rate in town, so I knew it was worth the wait.
The first appointment is where everything happens: you get to ask a million questions, you learn all about pregnancy, and you find out what's to come for the next nine months.
But my expectations were wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.
In my mind, you go to a midwife because you want a whole-health, all-inclusive experience. Someone that will pay attention to the little things and not think the things you want to do are crazy. Like riding bikes for 24 hours and not being stuck in a bed during labor.
I suppose that was very stereotypical and narrow minded of me, but I'd heard good things about the midwife practice I was going to and I was happy that I'd found somewhere to have a midwife experience without the hippie vibe.
Then I met the midwife. She was nice, casual, asked the right questions, and focused on the right things (like not giving me antibiotics just because I might have an infection.) And then we got to the exercise part …
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That's when she told me I was stupid for wanting to exercise during pregnancy. She actually called me stupid. Not at all what I was expecting to hear from a midwife. She was so narrow minded about this that it made me question using a midwife entirely. I'd already switched doctors once, so I decided to stick it out for one more appointment -with a different midwife in the practice.
After being called stupid and essentially negligent by the first midwife I saw, I was a little more than apprehensive about what was to come at the next appointment. I even dragged my husband along with me, not something I'd typically feel the need to do.
I should have known I wouldn't have needed him there to be my knight in shining armor against evil midwives.
This midwife was exactly what I'd pictured when I chose midwife care in the first place. I was practically giddy with excitement by the time we left. Or maybe it was hunger… seriously, they should provide lunch at these shindigs. (Have you ever been to a prenatal check up? Those things can last hours!)
The midwife opened the door to the examining room as I held my breath in anticipation. It didn't take long before I was able to let it out.
She took a minute to read my chart. Crazy concept, I know. Before diving into the exam she sat and chatted with us as if we were having coffee, not waiting for a check-up. The first thing she talked about? Food. She knows the way to my heart.
Instead of lecturing me, she taught me. She explained how all pregnant women become insulin-stupid. (I was completely on board with this use of the word stupid.) It doesn't matter your weight, your health, your age- all pregnant women lose their ability to produce or use insulin the way they should. I swear she memorized her whole text book and spit the information right back out in a way everyone could understand.
She gave way too much information; I loved every bit of it.
From that moment on, I never regretted another moment of my prenatal care with my midwife group. I had a great experience and things went mostly as I wanted during labor and delivery, despite not having enough time to share my wishes -it was just standard midwife practice. I truly feel having a midwife at my side was what made my early, surprise, natural birth go as well as it did.
Turns out I'm not the only one that thinks seeing a midwife for maternity care is a good idea. A recent study shows that using a midwife can lead to fewer birth complications, a shorter hospital stay, and a reduction in medical bills. (This particular study looked at certified nurse midwives, or CNMs.) The women in the study were less likely to have medical intervention, including cesarean sections and less likely to have an epidural. They saved about $530 in medical expenses as well.
Not a bad option to think about for your prenatal care, especially when seeing a midwife is covered by many insurance plans and midwives often work in collaboration with OBGYNs in case of complicated pregnancies.
Did you or would you use a midwife for your prenatal care?
-By Heather Neal
For 29 things you should NEVER say to a pregnant woman, visit Babble!
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