This Tuesday, we had our first Women at Work event! Two practicing midwives, Sage Bearman, CNM, WHNP and Faith Gibson, LM, CPM spoke about their career paths and experiences as midwives. They shared their passion and explained why midwifery can be a great profession and healthcare option!
Until a year ago, I had barely heard of midwifery. I got curious about it after I started watching the BBC show Call the Midwife (highly recommended!).
Once I spent time talking to midwives and learning more, I found an incredibly passionate community with an inspiring and individual-centered model of care. Midwives view birth as a natural and healthy experience. They are highly trained healthcare providers that attend about 10% of births in the US, provide prenatal care, work with clients of all genders, and care for many diverse health needs.
There are multiple different types of midwifery certification programs. Some midwives train through master’s programs in nursing schools, while others train through apprenticeship or out of hospital certification programs. Learn more at the American College of Nurse Midwifery and the Midwives Alliance of North America.
Consistent among all midwives is a model of care that empowers women to shape their pregnancy experience and honors the normalcy of birth.
This plays out through much lower intervention rates for midwife attended deliveries than the US average. For example, in some California hospitals, doctors perform C-sections at five times the World Health Organization recommended rate. Two reasons for this are that C-sections bring in more healthcare dollars from insurance companies and are often more convenient for doctors. Even though C-sections can be lifesaving procedures for women who develop complications during birth, they carry unnecessary risks for healthy low-risk mothers and babies.
While many regions in the US have a long way to go to better support midwives and women, some hospitals such as San Francisco General have made great progress towards this goal. The New York Times published an engaging article detailing how SF General keeps their C-section rate low. Read about it here. Stanford Hospital used to have midwives, but stopped the practice in 2003 due to “lack of profit.”
Midwives tend to practice in a very holistic and community-driven model of care. Whether or not you’ve considered midwifery before, midwifery can be a great career path and/or health career option!
Women at Work Program Coordinator