Seven Things to Know about Midwives
Here at North County Health Services, we have excellent women’s health programs and an award-winning midwifery program. Many women are unaware of the excellent benefits that a midwife can offer to you during and after a pregnancy, so they tend to stick with a traditional obstetrician for both prenatal and postnatal care. However, midwifery can provide women with many things that obstetricians alone cannot. Take a look at our top seven things you need to know about midwives.
- They can provide care for both normal, healthy pregnancies AND high-risk pregnancies.
It is common today for women of childbearing age to have poor health before they become pregnant—they may be overweight, obese, diabetic, hypertensive, and more. We wish to provide the best care to all women, so we welcome all patients, regardless of health status and risk factors, in our midwifery program.
- Their preterm delivery rate is well below national and state averages.
The state of California’s average preterm delivery rate is 8.3%. The national average is 9.6%. NCHS’s preterm delivery rate is only 5.6%! When you consider the fact that March of Dimes wants the national average to be lowered to 8.1% by 2020, our 5.6% is even more impressive! On top of a lower preterm delivery rate, we also have found that of our preterm deliveries, the vast majority of them take place at 32 to 37 week gestation, which is considered “moderate to late preterm.” Only 0.22% of our babies are born “extremely preterm” (before 28 weeks), 0.56% are born “very preterm” (28-32 weeks), and the remaining 4.8% are born in those remaining 32-37 weeks, making them “moderate to late preterm.”
- Their low birth rate averages are much lower than national averages.
A low birth rate is considered less than 2500 grams, or 5 pounds and 8 ounces. The national average for babies born with a low birth weight is 8%, while NCHS’s rate is 4.06%. A very low birth weight is considered less than 1500 grams, or 3 pounds and 4 ounces. The national average for babies born with a very low birth weight is 1.4%, while NCHS’s rate is 0.23%.
- Their cesarean rate is much lower than the national average.
The CDC reported that in 2014, 32.2% of all births were by cesarean section. At NCHS, our total cesarean section rate (including women with one or more previous C-sections, some of which are elective) is 24%, while our primary cesarean section (first one) rate is only 13.58!
- CNMs are extremely well-educated.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, “certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program…and have passed a national certification exam.” In addition to attaining a bachelor’s degree and completing graduate work, CNMs must also take continuing education courses throughout their careers.
- They do more than just prenatal care and delivery.
While many women think of midwifes just as people who deliver babies, they can do anything from well-woman visits to cervical cancer screenings to pre- and postnatal care and delivery.
- They offer patient-focused care and alternative approaches.
Instead of viewing pregnancy and delivery as medical emergencies waiting to happen, they view them as normal, natural events. They also focus on their patients throughout their entire pregnancies and stay with them during their entire labor and delivery, which helps them make the best care-based and patient-focused decisions the entire time.
For more information about the award-winning midwifery program here at North County Health Services, check out our website or give us a call at 760-736-6767.