Midwives & You: Finding your
Women's Health Care Provider
Each woman has different health care preferences. As you look at your health care options, choosing a care provider who can meet your individual needs will be one of the most important decisions you make. Think in advance about the type of experience you imagine for yourself. This will help you decide on the provider who is right for you.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- Do I want a provider who has experience in a range of areas, from general health care to gynecologic health services?
- Do I want a provider who can offer services in a hospital, clinic, private practice, and/or in my home?
- Do I want a provider who can provide care for me in important life events such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause?
- Do I want to create a long-term relationship with my provider?
If possible, do I want to avoid the use of medical procedures during childbirth, such as cesarean section or labor induction?
When choosing your women’s health care provider, it’s also important to do your homework. Explore your options, ask your friends about positive experiences they have had, and then follow your instincts. Every woman is different, and you are the only one who can know what is right for you.
Midwives And You
Midwives are devoted to addressing the health needs of women. Midwives provide a whole-woman approach to care and many offer care from puberty through and beyond menopause. Midwives work with you to prepare for pregnancy, provide care through labor and birth, support you as you move into parenthood, and some even provide care for your newborn baby during the first 28 days of life. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) are also educated to manage your gynecology needs and provide you with general health care services throughout your life.
Partnership and Caring Throughout Your Life
Puberty, pregnancy, birth, and menopause are normal events in a woman’s life. For most women, they are not diseases or emergencies. Your health is not just an isolated, one-time event. Midwives view your health as an important part of your life that is linked to other parts of your life. Whether you are pregnant or seeking family planning options, midwives offer support, education, and treatment if needed to help you as you go through life’s changes.
A Different Health Care Experience
When you decide to visit a midwife, you will receive a special level of care that is not always present in most health care settings. Midwives often spend extra time with you during your appointment, listening to your concerns, addressing (or treating) problems. They may provide education, suggest resources, or refer you to additional health care providers if needed. Your midwife strives to be your partner in care, not just your provider of care.