5 midwife myths: From epidural to insurance, midwives can deliver
Throughout the years, I've found that many people don’t understand the role of a midwife or how a midwife can help ensure both mother and child are taken care of.
Here are some answers and explanations about the top myths I've encountered as a midwife:
Myth #1: Midwives deliver babies in homes.
Fact: Most midwife deliveries take place in a hospital setting, offering women a personalized and supportive birth experience, within the safety and security of a hospital setting. The biggest difference is the type of care you’ll encounter: Midwives generally spend more time getting to know their patients during pregnancy and spend more time with them throughout labor. Midwives also spend more time in the hospital room after delivery to help ensure the baby is breastfeeding properly and mom is doing well.
Myth #2: Midwives don’t provide pain medication or offer an epidural.
Fact: Midwives have prescribing authority and can get the laboring mother an epidural or other pain medication. During labor, midwives will often help patients manage pain with different positions and techniques, which can help delay or even negate the need for drugs.
Myth #3: Midwives aren't trained.
Fact: Every licensed midwife in Washington has undergone extensive training and practice, but it’s important to know that there are different types of midwives. In Washington, both Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives are recognized. Certified Nurse-Midwives have a nursing degree, specialized training in midwifery and meet a specific number of deliveries before they practice. Licensed Midwives must complete three years in a state-approved midwifery education program, then pass an exam.
Every midwife at MultiCare is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, holding a master’s degree and, in many cases, a doctoral degree.
Myth #4: Insurance won’t cover care provided by midwives.
Fact: Midwifery care is covered by all insurance plans in Washington state by law. That includes Medicare and Medicaid.
Myth #5: Midwives only deliver babies.
Fact: Nurse Midwives focus on women’s health care and also provide gynecological care, including annual exams, birth control and family planning.
Even if you’re not pregnant, choosing a midwife for your gynecological care now allows you to start forming a relationship with a trusted provider, someone who can care for you throughout all stages of your life, including pregnancy and childbirth.
I was drawn to become a midwife because pregnancy and childbirth are so amazing, I wanted to be a part of them every day. I know many of my colleagues who feel similarly — and together, we help provide a high level of care for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Jodee Gutierrez, ARNP, is a Certified Nurse-Midwife at the MultiCare Women’s Health & Wellness Center in Gig Harbor. In addition to obstetrics, she provides annual exams, women’s wellness, birth control, and has a special interest in adolescent care, while incorporating health and wellness coaching into her practice.
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