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Women's Health

The Myths and Facts of Midwifery

Jabari NgangaWhile the use of midwives has climbed over the last few years in the United States, there is still a large percentage of the population that doesn’t understand the nature of a midwife—perhaps due to the myths surrounding who midwives are and exactly what they do.

Here are the most common myths of midwifery and the facts that refute them:

Myth:  Midwives only handle pregnancy and birth.

Fact:  Midwives provide expert knowledge, skill and health care services to women in all stages of life, including general health check-ups, gynecological exams, screenings, birth control, etc.

Myth:  Midwives only deliver home births.

Fact:  Midwives practice in many different settings, the most common being a hospital setting.  

Myth:  Midwives aren’t formally educated.

Fact:  Midwives are highly educated and skilled.  Certified Nurse Midwives have a degree in nursing as well as a master’s degree.  The skills and expertise midwives have through their advanced training allows for their expert care in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as primary and newborn care.   

Myth:  Midwives don’t allow pain medicine and epidurals in birth.

Fact:  Midwives partner with their patients to determine a plan that fits their needs and desires.  Midwives understand that each person’s level of pain is unique and they provide expert knowledge in how to best cope with pain during labor—both medicinally and non-medicinally depending on the patient’s need and desire.

Myth:  Midwives aren’t covered by insurance.

Fact:  In most states, it is required that private insurance companies pay for services provided by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and Medicaid coverage is required in all states.  In states that do not require private insurance coverage, many insurance plans still cover the services provided by a CNM.

Myth:  Midwives don’t handle chronic health conditions or high-risk pregnancies.

Fact:  Though midwives are considered experts in normal or low-risk pregnancies, they can still co-manage high-risk patients with an OB/GYN.  The collaborative relationship between physicians and midwives and their combined expertise allow optimal care to be provided to each patient.  

    

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