01 Feb Choosing Your Midwife Makes a World of Difference
Choosing your own midwife early on can make a world of difference to the pregnancy and new mum journey.
Studies are now showing that having your own midwife leads to the best outcomes for mum and bub with many improvements including reductions in stillbirth, markedly improved birth outcomes for mother and baby, increased breastfeeding, lower anxiety and reduced impact of postnatal depression.
Most women in Australia don’t consider having a midwife as a means to provide care and if they do, they often find it hard to find one to care for them outside large hospital programs.
Lisa Booth, currently pregnant with her fourth baby, is having care through My Midwives and cannot believe the difference to her previous pregnancies in the public sector and with a private obstetrician.
“I first fell pregnant at the ripe young age of 20 with my first daughter, and to say I was scared is an understatement. We didn’t have the access to private health care, not much money or knowledge, so, our options felt limited to public hospital care. I believe I have emotional scars from not being heard or having any control.”
“Subsequently, I had a private obstetric birth but I still did not feel well supported.”
“Now to compare with my experience with my own chosen midwife, I can only harp on about how supported and heard I am. My fear of needles and blood through to my desire for water birth have all been supported. I’ve never felt so calm during a pregnancy, or about the impending birth. I’m so ready this time, and more confident with the support crew around me.”
Liz Wilkes, Managing Director of My Midwives, says that most of the women they see find them by chance: “It is not common yet to look for a midwife. Most people think that the option is only available for home births and don’t see it as an alternative for obstetric care or public hospitals. But nothing else provides you with the same level of care.”
“Your midwife will answer your calls day and night from early in pregnancy until your baby is six weeks old.”
“They can provide all your antenatal care – in conjunction with an obstetrician if you need or want that – and they are the person with you through your whole labour and birth.”
Since 2010, midwives also have Medicare provider numbers meaning that Medicare rebates antenatal care, births in hospital and post-birth care to six weeks.
“For women in Queensland this is becoming something that they know more about,” Ms Wilkes says.
“In Victoria there has been a slower acceptance by hospitals, but now we are seeing more and more options with the pilot processes now completed and midwives able to admit their own clients.”
Lisa is still shaking her head that she has only found this model on her fourth birth. “This structure of support and care is certainly one I would choose over all my previous experiences.
“If I could give that young 20-year-old one piece of advice, it would be to listen to your wants/needs and speak up and find someone who also wants those ideals for you. This is what having a private midwife has done for me.”
This article was sponsored by My Midwives.