Midwifery Facts


From: The Wellness Report

Sponsored by the Michigan Chiropractic Council

“Unfortunately, the role of obstetrics has never been to help women give birth. There is a big difference between the medical discipline we call ‘obstetrics’ and something completely different, the art of midwifery. If we want to find safe alternatives to obstetrics, we must rediscover midwifery. To rediscover midwifery is the same as giving back childbirth to women. And imagine the future if surgical teams were at the service of the midwives and the women instead of controlling them.”

-Michael Odent, MD

 Midwife means “with woman”. * From the earliest recorded history, midwives have been the traditional birth attendant in all cultures. * Midwives traditionally view pregnancy and birth as healthy, normal events with the childbearing woman being in the central role * The midwifery model of care aims to empower women by helping them master the challenges of pregnancy and birth * Midwifery care differs from obstetric care in philosophy, style and practice * Midwifery care promotes the normal, speaks to psychological as well as physiological care, is woman-centered rather than doctor-centered, empowers women, and looks to simple, non-interventive remedies before resorting to technology * Midwifery care benefits both medically and demographically high-risk women as well as low-risk women * Midwifery care costs less than obstetrical care * Studies in this country and abroad have shown that births attended by a trained midwife are as safe as births attended by a physician * In 1920, midwives attended 95% of all births in the United States * In 1975, physicians attended 95% of all births in the United States * Today, 80% of all babies being born in the world are attended by midwives, although only 7% are midwife-attended in the United States * The Carnegie Institute identified the most formidable barriers to midwifery care are wide-spread ignorance and misinformation about the scope of practice of midwives * The United States and Canada are the only countries in the world where obstetrician – highly skilled surgeons – attend the majority of normal births * A 1998 study compared physician-attended births to midwife-attended births. They found that midwife attended low risk births had 33% fewer newborn deaths and 31% fewer low birth weight babies * There is not a single report in scientific literature that shows physician-attended births to be safer than midwife-attended births for normal pregnancy and birth * Midwives are experts in normal, natural childbirth. They recognize the variations of “normal” and can identify early signs of conditions that are not normal during pregnancy, labor and delivery * In comparison with obstetrical care, midwives spend more time with their patients during prenatal visits addressing the psychological as well as physiological state of the woman, and remain with the laboring woman throughout the course of labor and delivery (as opposed to being present only for the the delivery) * Scientific evidence shows that home is a perfectly safe place to birth if you are one of the more than 80% of women who have had no serious complications during pregnancy * Statistics from the Midwives’ Alliance of North America’s cumulative database show that of 3270 homebirths, most women who transfer to the hospital during labor and childbirth do so during the first stage of labor for non-emergency reasons. Ninety-seven percent of women required no transfer at all. * Midwives rely not on drugs and technology, rather on the skilled use of their hands and the preservation of normalcy. They trust the wisdom of the individual body to birth the way it knows best.

(Sounds a little like chiropractic philosophy, doesn’t it?)

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