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A common childhood belief is that “angels” bring babies from heaven to the earth. It is only later that we discover the biological complexities involved in this procedure. Many are astonished to see the vast number of healthcare workers responsible for the task. Amongst all these workers, a “midwife” can be given the status of “angel.”

What Is A Midwife?

A midwife is a qualified healthcare provider trained to provide support to women during:

● Pregnancy

● Labor

● Birth

This healthcare professional has expertise in managing complications of pregnancy and childbirth. For example, the birth of twins/triplets is a complex procedure that requires expert hands. A midwife-nurse is the ideal person to go to in such cases.

Midwives work in the following healthcare centers:

● Maternity unit of a hospital

● Mother care and birth centers

● Midwifery group practices

● Obstetrician’s consulting rooms

You can also use the services of a private midwife. These workers also help out in home birth in rural areas.

Qualifications Of A Midwife

Based on the levels of training, there are different levels of a midwife:

● Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs)

● Certified Midwives (CMs)

● Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)

Non-certified/unlicensed midwives provide services in under-developed countries.

Role Of A Midwife During Pregnancy

A midwife plays specific roles at different stages of childbirth. Following are the areas of expertise of a midwife during pregnancy:

  1. Carries out regular prenatal blood tests and exams

  2. Devises birth plan

  3. Checks baby’s growth and position

  4. Guides the mother regarding diet and medications (also helps in the management of gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension)

  5. Educates the mother about how to avoid complications (backache)

  6. Helps prepare the mother for labor

Role Of A Midwife During Labor

  1. Provides emotional and physical support to the mother

  2. Calms the patient down

  3. Monitors baby’s vitals (heartbeat and other signs)

  4. Provides pain relief to the mom

  5. Consult specialist in case of complexity

Role Of A Midwife After Birth Of Child

  1. Guides the mother about breastfeeding and childcare

  2. Imparts basic knowledge of diaper-changing and bathing of the baby

  3. Carries out blood screening of the baby

  4. Helps the mother fight “baby bluesand depression

Researchers found in a study that many mothers relied on the midwife to provide them with information on breastfeeding. Therefore, midwives are trained to provide breastfeeding help to the new mother (especially during the first 14 days after delivery).

The role of midwives is duly appreciated in abortion-related care as well.

Advantages Of A Midwife

According to research, having a planned home birth attended by a registered midwife is associated with a very low rate of perinatal complications and deaths. It justifies the importance of a midwife.

A Part Of The Pregnancy Team

A midwife is a part of the pregnancy team and works in coordination with the obstetrician, gynecologist, and other team members. There may be a couple of midwives that can help in labor and delivery.

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