Where Do Midwives Work?

You've just discovered that you're pregnant. Now you have to navigate the many options that are available to you for labor and delivery. While you can have a doctor for your prenatal care and delivery, many women are turning to midwives to deliver a more personalized birth experience.

Midwives have a "model of care" that can include minimal interventions and a woman-centered approach that includes mental and emotional well-being and support as well as physical health.

But midwives are not all identical. There are many approaches to midwifery, and one of the decisions you'll need to make is what type of midwife you want to use during your pregnancy and for your birth.

Nurse Midwife

A midwife who practices at a clinic or hospital is usually part of a larger group that includes doctors. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, you'll be able to see a nurse midwife for your care. But if a health concern does arise, you can easily switch to a doctor in the same office. 

Most nurse midwives are called Certified Nurse Midwives or CNMs and they are licensed to practice in every state.

When you work with a nurse midwife, you will usually give birth in a hospital. During your labor and birth, your midwife will be present to support you and provide medical care. If there are any complications, doctors and surgeons are close by to assist.

Homebirth Midwife

Midwives who operate independently attend to births in your own home and can be a good option for a healthy pregnancy. Some homebirth midwives are CNMs but they are not affiliated with any hospital or medical clinic. Homebirth midwives who are not CNMs are usually called Direct-Entry Midwives (DEMs).

Homebirth midwives often have an office where you can go for your prenatal appointments; in some cases, a homebirth midwife will come to your home for all checks throughout your pregnancy.

Experienced homebirth midwives will bring all necessary supplies to your home and prepare your for birth in your comfortable surroundings. If any complications arise, a homebirth midwife will recommend transport to a local hospital.

Birthing Center Midwife

For those women who don't like the idea of being in a hospital to give birth but aren't comfortable being at home and away from advanced medical care, birthing centers are another option. Usually, birthing centers are staffed entirely by midwives or nurse midwives, but they are located near or affiliated with a hospital in case of emergency. 

Women at a birthing center can labor in their own home-like suites, and can make themselves more comfortable than is usually possible at a hospital. 

Talk to multiple midwives like those from Women's Healthcare Associates LLC in your area to find one who is a good fit for your needs.