The midwifery model of care has been found to be a safe and effective alternative to the medical model of childbirth which is commonly seen in North America today.
The midwifery model of care views pregnancy and birth as a normal, healthy process and treats it as such, rather than as a disease, illness, or medical event. Midwives are experts in normal birth. However, they are also trained to recognize early warning signs of complications and refer to other health care specialists appropriately.
The midwifery model of care offers skilled, individualized care throughout the childbearing cycle of pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period. This includes caring for the social and psychological aspects of the mother, as well as the physical, and offers informed choice regarding tests and procedures which may be done.
“Midwife” means with woman and this requires time. In the midwifery model of care, the midwife attends the mother continuously throughout her labor and birth, offering encouragement, comfort, and other means of supporting the birthing woman. This greatly reduces the need for medical intervention and also increases the empowerment and satisfaction women feel regarding their births.
- The midwifery model of care means freedom to the birthing mother:
- freedom to choose her birth attendants
- freedom to make informed choices regarding her care
- freedom to labor where she feels safe and secure
- freedom to eat, drink, and move about as she pleases during her labor
- freedom to bathe and labor in the water
- freedom to give birth in whatever position feels right to her