Today, May 5th, is International Day of the Midwife which offers us an opportunity to reflect on the value and importance of midwife lead care for pregnancy and birth.
Midwives are angels and they are definitely not in it for the money! In my mind, practicing midwifery is definitely a vocation and I have huge respect for their expertise, compassion and emotional support they offer, often in a very difficult working environment.
Some women feel Consultant led care is the ‘safest’ and ‘best’ care during pregnancy and birth because its the one you pay for. But this isn’t always true.
Midwife led care is an option in all the Dublin hospitals and in some around the country, either via MLU (midwife-led unit), via the community midwives team or via a midwife led clinic within the hospital. Midwives are the primary source of care in home births also. You can find fully qualified and highly experienced independent midwives in your area here.
Here are my top reasons to chose midwife-led care:
Midwives are highly qualified and hugely knowledgable
Midwives all have a minimum of a University Degree these days and the training here in Ireland is known to be excellent and highly regarded worldwide. Irish midwives are sought after all over the world.
Midwives know lots of little tips and tricks to get babies out without medical interventions
Ever heard this one ‘put your hand down and feel the baby’s head’ or ‘try moving on to hands and knees’. They’re not just empty suggestions! Midwives know every trick in the book to get our little ones going in the right direction.
Midwife led care is just as ‘safe’
Many studies have found that midwife led care is just as safe or indeed safer then consultant led care for women with low-risk pregnancies. If you want to read more have a look at this TCD study which showed that giving birth in an MLU was just as safe as in a consultant led unit and that these births inevitably involved less interventions.
Midwife lead care is cheaper
Midwife led care is FREE in Irish hospitals and MLUs - that includes Domino care and community midwives clinics. It has also been proven that midwife led care costs the state less then consultant led care. So more dosh all round.
You have less chance of taking an epidural, and therefor less chance of needing forceps or vacuum delivery
That 2015 Irish study mentioned above also found that women in Midwife led units were less likely to opt for the epidural. If your midwife feels you can do it she will encourage you all the way! Epidural can be directly linked to the increased risk of an instrumental birth so the less chance of opting for an epidural, the less chance of needing forceps or vacuum.
She is all about supporting you and she wants the same thing you want
The traditional Irish term for midwife was ‘an Bhean Ghlúine’ the word ‘glún’ depicting the midwife with the woman, both on their knees, one birthing and one supporting. The English word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’. If your midwife finishes her shift knowing that you felt empowered, safe and like you made informed decisions, no matter what those decisions were and no matter how your baby came out in the end, that’s been a great days work for her! You can read more about the philosophy of Irish midwives here.