by Melissa Garvey, ACNM Writer and Editor
Our friends at Science and Sensibility have an interesting post that should be generating more discussion. The post explores certified nurse-midwife Mary Ellen Doherty’s study in the Journal of Perinatal Education called “Midwifery Care: Reflections of Midwifery Clients.”
Doherty conducted her study to describe the experiences of women who chose midwives as their health care providers throughout the lifespan. She and her team interviewed 12 women who had received prenatal, birth, postnatal, well-woman gynecologic, contraceptive, and primary health care services from midwives.
Five themes emerged from the data. As a member of the ACNM communications team, I’m particularly interested in two of them: 1) decision to seek midwifery care and 2) midwives as primary health care providers throughout the lifespan.
What Makes Women Choose Midwives?
That’s the million-dollar question here at ACNM. We exist to support and promote certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. We know midwifery patients are extremely satisfied with their care. But how do we get a woman who has never considered a midwife to realize what she’s missing?
The women in Doherty’s study said they chose a midwife because of:
- a brochure from a midwifery practice along with one from ACNM that exuded “competence, confidence, compassion, and kindness.” (Go, ACNM Communications Department!)
- the recommendation of friends who had already given birth and had a positive experience with midwifery.
- an obstetrician’s recommendation.
- an insurance company’s recommendation.
All 12 of the women in this study discovered that midwives provide services beyond prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. Just among this sample of 12 women, midwifery services included:
- Contraceptive care
- Treatment for vaginal infections
- Flu shot administration
- Throat culture
- Annual exam
- Pap smear
- Treatment referral and support for postpartum depression
- Other health care referrals and recommendations for both patient and family members
…and a lot to add! Here’s where you chime in. What made you decide to choose a midwife? And what health care services do you receive from your midwife?