An increasing number of expecting moms are choosing to go with midwives for their labor and delivery needs - finding the personalized, natural-focused care a welcome help in the sometimes stressful and difficult months of carrying and delivering a baby. And the truth is, midwives can be a wonderful resource. In many cases, they help women find better outcomes than those who don't use them. But that said, it's important to understand the pros and cons of using a midwife before committing yourself to their care. With that in mind, here's a look at some risk factors to be aware of before deciding to use a midwife.

  1. Supervision Is Important. Just like doctors, midwives need to be monitored and carefully surveyed. Without this kind of proper supervision, they can do more than they should be doing and/or not provide the consultations necessary to protect the mother. So if you choose to work with a midwife, find out what kind of medical supervision or partnerships are offered. What will happen if you need further attention or care during labor? Who will be monitoring your care?
  2. Any Pregnancy Can Become High Risk. Most midwives will only work with those who are considered low-risk women, looking at factors like age, weight, health issues, etc. But even for a woman who is theoretically low risk, something can go wrong, too much time can pass after it does, and she can become a high-risk woman just like that. Because of this, it's important to have a way to access intervention when necessary. If something goes wrong, medical intervention should be available nearby to come in and correct the situation.
  3. Hospitals Offer Increasing Amenities. Historically, one of the features that midwives have been able to provide, as opposed to hospitals, is ambiance - a comfortable home environment, for example. But today many hospitals are improving the environments they provide, with couches, televisions, lighting, allowed family members, etc. This is designed to make mothers comfortable and relaxed, which helps their bodies experience less pain and trauma. As long as a healthcare facility will provide a more home-like environment for mothers to deliver, alongside their midwives and/or doulas, it can be the best of both worlds.

Deciding whether or not to work with a midwife is a personal decision, but looking at the benefits and potential drawbacks is an important step in researching options. Most midwives provide excellent care, which is only improved by partnerships with other medical professionals.

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