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Understanding the Role of a Midwife During Labor and Delivery

Understanding the Role of a Midwife During Labor and Delivery

Midwifery is a woman-centered approach to maternity that’s been practiced for as long as women have had babies. While the earliest midwives were simply mothers who attended the births of women in their town, midwifery soon became a profession. 

The first formal midwifery training took place in the 17th century, and our team of doctors and certified nurse midwives are happy to continue this model of care right here in San Antonio, Texas. 

Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health, our team of five certified nurse midwives provides for all aspects of your pregnancy, and that includes labor and delivery. Read on to learn more about the role of a midwife during labor and delivery. 

The midwife’s role during your pregnancy 

The relationship between you and your midwife often begins well before labor. Midwives here at Westover Hills Women’s Health provide comprehensive prenatal care. 

During your routine prenatal appointments, they offer guidance on what to eat during pregnancy and which prenatal exercises to try. They also monitor your baby's growth and development and address any concerns or questions you may have. This establishes a strong foundation for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

The midwife’s role during labor and delivery 

One of the hallmark features of midwifery care is the emphasis on continuous support during labor. Midwives are present throughout your labor, offering encouragement, comfort, and guidance as you labor. 

Note: While some midwives attend home births, our team doesn’t, but here’s what your midwife does do during labor and delivery:

Monitors and assesses your progress

Your midwife closely monitors the progress of your labor. External monitoring belts can check your contractions and how well your baby tolerates the contractions. She uses her expertise to recognize signs of complications and seeks timely intervention when necessary. 

This vigilant monitoring provides a safe and positive birthing experience for both you and your baby. In fact, research shows that women who have midwife-attended births in a hospital-level setting have a smaller chance of needing a C-section or episiotomy. 

Discusses pain management with you

Midwives are skilled in offering a range of pain management techniques. This may include breathing exercises, massage, hydrotherapy, and other non-pharmacological methods to help ease discomfort during labor.

If you’d like other forms of pain management, such as an epidural, your midwife can advocate for you. 

Supports your preferences during labor

There are many ways to labor, and your midwife can help recommend different positions and laboring techniques to help you find relief.  This may include the use of birthing balls, water births, or other alternative methods. 

Delivers your baby

Unlike a doula, who supports you as you labor, your midwife also delivers your baby. Many midwives, though, refer to this as “catching” the baby. That's because they believe that you, as a laboring mother, do all of the hard work and deliver your baby, and your midwife is there to catch your baby.

Your midwife’s role during the postpartum period 

The role of your midwife extends into the postpartum period so you receive comprehensive care and support as you transition into parenthood. 

This includes guidance on breastfeeding, monitoring your physical recovery, and addressing any concerns or questions that may arise during the postpartum period. Your midwife can also provide guidance on nutritional needs after you deliver your baby. 

Is the midwifery model of care right for you?

If you’re expecting and would like to consider the midwifery model of care, call one of our San Antonio, Texas, offices to book your first prenatal appointment. You can also use our online tool to request your appointment.

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