Provide ongoing support
Midwives (particularly those who practise privately) can have an increased capacity for support post-birth. Your midwife can visit your home until your little one is six weeks old. During these visits, they can help you with breastfeeding, should you choose to try. They’ll also check in with your mental wellbeing and can be a great source of emotional support – especially as you’ll know them quite well after nine months.
Health and parenting education
Midwives know their stuff! Whether they’ve completed a Bachelors of Midwifery or a Bachelors of Nursing plus a diploma or masters of Midwifery, they have plenty of expertise to share with you.
Your midwife can help prepare you for parenthood, and may even be conducting your antenatal appointments. They can teach you about feeding, swaddling, nappy-changing, hygiene habits, etc. Your midwife should know all the need-to-knows, so throw any questions you may have their way!
Taking care of mum is a massive part of a midwife’s job. They can also make suggestions regarding mum’s diet and activity levels. It never hurts to get a second opinion about how to treat your body throughout (or even after) pregnancy.
Your midwife can order tests and scans. They may also be able to prescribe some medication (noting that some medication is best avoided during pregnancy so consult with your GP), although only an anaesthetist in a hospital can administer an epidural.
Midwives can also refer you to specialists, like OBGYNs or paediatricians.
Monitoring your baby
Your midwife will monitor the growth and development of your baby. They are trained to handle births and can assess deviations from normal. A midwife might be able to help you if your baby is ‘sitting’ in the wrong position for labour.
Some deviations are higher risk, and your midwife may refer you to an obstetrician, who is trained specifically in illnesses and deviations in pregnancy and birth. In some cases, they will act as a team during hospital-based labours.
Is a midwife for me?
Consider your birth setting of choice and the risk level of your pregnancy. You may prefer to have a midwife come to your home and build a more intimate connection with one healthcare professional. You may wish to see a midwife in conjunction with a doctor.
Not all women choose to consult midwives throughout their pregnancy. Midwives are pregnancy, birth and baby experts! They can be a valuable addition to your birth team, or in some uncomplicated births, the sole member of your birth team.