When I was pregnant, there was never a good day to go to the doctor. And by good day, I mean a day when a doctor's visit would not interfere with a meeting, a project or a deadline. Even when I thought I had picked the perfect appointment slot, there was always something that came up and I was either forced to reschedule or put up with annoyed looks around the office.
While it's not politically correct to give pregnant women a hard time because they have to go to the doctor during business hours, the feelings of resentment among a pregnant woman's non-pregnant, child-free, often male colleagues haven't gone away. It's a pervasive vibe that every pregnant woman working in a male dominated environment can just feel.
So, 32 weeks into my first pregnancy, I solved that problem by hiring a home birth midwife. She and her partner came to me for visits, bringing with them the necessary supplies for taking my blood pressure, checking my urine and listening to the baby's heart rate. If blood needed to be drawn, they did that too, on my couch. Even a GBS test was done in the privacy of my bathroom. And the best part? They did all this after working hours!
Of course, home visits cost more than visiting their office but even when I went to them, it wasn't a hassle to make appointments after hours. And the time they spent with me was double or triple what my former OB could spend with me. They took their time listening to my concerns, they counseled me on nutrition and they really prepared me for the birth and for life with a new baby. And, if I had to cancel, it wasn't a nightmare to reschedule.
A typical home birth midwifery practice consists of several midwives (2-4) who each only take on 2-5 clients due within the same month. In contrast, in a group OB/GYN practice, each doctor can take upwards of 20-50 women all due in the same month. And this doesn’t include the gynecological patients. These differences translate into more time and attention available for each mom and baby at the hands of a midwife versus an OB.
Home birth midwives spend more time with their clients period. They are with a laboring mother the entire time she is in active labor. Unlike an OB, they do not split their time among 4 or 5 laboring moms at one time. Home birth midwives spend 45 minutes or more with pregnant moms at each prenatal visit; they are not rushing from room to room between patients like an OB. Home birth midwives visit new moms at their home multiple times within the first two weeks postpartum, ensuring the health of the mom and the new baby; they don't send women home alone after a vaginal birth or C-section only to see them again after 6-8 weeks on their own. It's for these reasons and many others that I switched from an OB to a midwife more than two thirds of the way through my pregnancy and never regretted it once.
Monica is a Certified HypnoBirthing® practitioner serving the Northern Virginia area, DC and some parts of Maryland. Her practice is called NoVA HypnoBirthing® LLC and she provides group as well as private classes.