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How To Choose A Midwife

You’ve been feeling that tug – the one telling you that you should seek out a midwife for this new baby. You may not even be pregnant yet or you may be in your third trimester, but you just know. It’s right for you and you want to make the switch. But where to begin? 

In the U.S. there are two types of midwives – CNM and CPM. Certified Nurse Midwives have the extra degree, Certified Professional Midwives are licensed as well, but do not practice in hospitals.  Those are the technical aspects, but I want to talk about the other facets of choosing a midwife. Things like birth philosophy, intervention model, how they practice and their personality types. All these things must come into consideration when choosing a midwife because she will be a hugely important person in your life.

I’ve personally had all different types of midwives. I had a midwife hospital birth, I had a CNM home birth, and I’ve had two other CPM midwives who are wildly different in how they practice.

Be sure to think about your own philosophies – are you seeking out a midwife because you want a more gentle spirit but still all the medical model-ish things that your OB would’ve provided? If so then you’ll be wise to stick with CNM’s. Are you wanting a really natural minded midwife who doesn’t intervene unless absolutely necessary, but you aren’t ready for or aren’t interested in a home birth? Then look for CPM’s who practice at a birthing center.

I realize there are exceptions to this rule, but generally CNM is going to be just that…a nurse. A CPM is somewhat free from that type of learning/teaching, so she will be more into the older practices, the tricks like a turkey sandwich during labor to help make you sleepy, ways to help a mal-positioned baby while in labor, things of that category. It all just depends on what you the mama prefer in your care.

Either category of midwives will be much more attentive than an OB would, simply because of the nature of their practice. They typically take on less patients and their procedures are more about you then their protocol. There are still yet exceptions to this however, with midwives who are barely any different from an OB in their philosophy and patient load.

You will want to also consider temperament and personality, and make sure the energy of the midwife you choose is the type of energy you’ll want around you when you’re working the hardest you ever will in your life.

Any other tips for those choosing a new midwife? Please share in the comments!

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