Hiring A Midwife For Your Birth – 4 Top Benefits

When you first conceive your baby, it might dawn you’re about to start making some of the most important choices in your life. 

Such as who will care for you as your pregnancy progresses and who will support you when you give birth. Should you think about hiring a midwife or an obstetrician? 

This choice will have a huge impact on how your birth will unfold, your recovery afterwards, and your transition to parenthood. 

You probably assume you’ll give birth in a hospital, but a small percentage of women also choose to give birth at home. This number is growing during the Covid-19 pandemic, as more women find their birth options being impacted by health restrictions.

Either way, hiring a midwife as your care provider has a whole host of benefits.

So let’s look at the benefits of hiring a midwife and if this is something you should consider.

A quick note:

In Australia, the vast majority of women receive maternity care through a private or public hospital, which the Australian College of Midwives calls a fragmented system. What this means is you will see a number of different doctors and midwives during your pregnancy and when it’s time to give birth. 

Midwifery continuity of care provides the best model of care for women and babies. This is care from the same midwife or team of midwives during the pregnancy, birth and postnatal time. 

Some public hospitals have group midwifery programs but they book out very quickly. Some private midwives have hospital visiting rights so can work in a hospital but are hired directly by you. Or you look at hiring a private midwife to attend you at a home birth. 

Hopefully, the following benefits of hiring a midwife will encourage you to explore this option for yourself. The greater demand for these services, the more they will become available to other women in the future. 

#1: It’s all about you 

A key feature of having a midwife is the woman centred care they provide. Your midwife gives you her full attention, throughout pregnancy, during labour, and after in the postnatal period. 

Midwives are ‘with woman’ so the basis of their care is individualised and holistic, caring for a woman as a whole. 

Midwives care about your physical health, but also your emotional wellbeing too, not just in pregnancy but also after giving birth. They build a relationship based on trust that encompasses your wishes and the dynamics of your family. 

During labour, your midwives create a space where you are free to birth on your terms, while leaning on their support and guidance as needed. 

#2: Have a normal birth 

It’s actually a fact – women who have continuity of care from midwives are more likely to have a natural, intervention free birth. 

Well supported mothers who trust their care provider are more likely to be well informed about the normal process of labour and birth. They’re likely to attend birth preparation classes that support their birth preferences for a natural birth and be active in advocating for their wishes. 

Studies from all over the world show women who have continuity of midwifery care:

  • Go into labour spontaneously (no labour induction)
  • Have babies at full term
  • Less likely to ask for epidurals or other pain relief drugs
  • Reduced risk of having an assisted birth (use of forceps, vacuum or c-section)
  • Have no tearing of the perineum. 

Women who are supported to have a normal birth cope better with labour both physically and emotionally. This leads to them having a more positive experience of labour and birth, with an easier recovery.  

#3: Babies do better

Babies born to mums who have continuity of midwifery care are less likely to be born prematurely or spend time in neonatal intensive care units. Their mothers are less likely to be induced or have epidurals, both of which contribute to preterm birth and fetal distress.

Just as importantly, after birth babies are less likely to be separated from their mothers with midwifery care. This assists with a much easier transition from womb to world. 

In the first minutes and hours after birth, your baby must adjust in many big and little ways, such as regulating their body and temperature systems. This is best assisted by your baby having immediate skin-to-skin contact with you. Breastfeeding is more likely to happen early, and delaying cord clamping is also supported. 

A normal birth exposes babies to healthy bacteria as they’re born, and early breastfeeding is equally important to protect their immune system, both in their early years and later in life. 

#4: Be more confident as a mother

Mothers who have midwifery care give birth feeling in control of their choices, which have a positive impact on their self confidence. 

When you’ve been supported in a way that cherishes you as an individual person and encourages you to believe in your body and yourself, you’re going to be much more confident about the role of motherhood. 

Let’s not sugarcoat it, the early days of having a newborn after giving birth can be a big adjustment. Your body has been working hard growing your baby through pregnancy, and giving birth is an extremely physical and mental event.

Your hormones shift, preparing to nourish your baby as you establish breastfeeding. Sleep might not be as plentiful as your baby adjusts to life outside their cosy nest and their survival instincts kick in. All of these factors can make you wonder if you’re the right person for this important job. 

Having established a relationship with your midwife during pregnancy, she knows you well and can offer reassurance that you’re in fact doing the best you can. She will understand your personal situation and dynamics to offer advice on baby care, breastfeeding, settling your baby and even routine health checks. 

With someone who genuinely cares about you and your baby as a support, you will get through those early days and weeks and feel more confident as you go. 

Nurtured Birth offers postnatal doula services which compliments your midwife’s care. If you’d like to discuss how a postnatal doula can support you, please contact us

How To Support New Mums This Mother’s Day

Wondering how to support new mums this Mother’s Day and make it extra special for her? 

History suggests Mother’s Day has its origins back in the days the ancient Romans and Greeks, when festivals were held to honour the mother goddesses.

Over time, celebrating mothers became less religious and more a tradition where children would present their mothers with flowers or small presents. It wasn’t formalised as a special day of appreciation until the 1930s.

You can spoil a new mum with all the presents in the world but what a lot of mamas say they would really like is support to be the best mum they can be.

It’s a lot, juggling the demands of a new baby and finding some time for self care. So why not gift the new mum in your life with support. 

We’ve put together our 5 favourite suggestions on how to support new mums this Mother’s Day and make her feel special.

#1: Help her get more sleep

Probably the one thing most new mamas crave is more sleep. It’s so hard to come by in the first weeks and even months of motherhood. Newborns take some time to adjust to being in the world and working out days and nights. So your new mama is probably very tired. 

One way to support new mums this Mother’s Day is to help them find more sleep. Take care of the baby while she sleeps in or has a long, deep sleep during the day. 

If you can manage it, organise for this to happen more than once! Ask a close and trusted family member or friend to visit regularly to look after the baby while mama gets some sleepy time.

Or hire a postpartum doula to be an extra pair of hands during the day or night so mama can get more sleep. Find out more about postnatal doulas and how to book one here

To help her sleep even better, make sure the bed is comfy, and add in a support pillow like the Denton’s Pregnancy Pillow. This is wonderful during pregnancy to support her belly as she sleeps on her side.

After birth, it takes time to readjust back to normal sleeping positions, so the pillow can provide added comfort and support new mums to get better rest. 

Click here to purchase a Denton’s Pregnancy Pillow through Nurtured Birth. 

#2: Pamper her

One thing many new mums lack is time just for her. It can be a challenge to do more than wash her face and put on clean clothes every day. Support her to have some time that’s just for her. 

This might include massage, a pedicure or even a day spa. Nurtured Birth offers gift vouchers for our massage sessions which you can purchase at this link

If being away from the baby for too long could be tricky, organise a spa day at home. You can put together a pamper pack of her favourite bath salts, scented candles, face mask and so on. Add an extra layer of luxury on top and organise an in-home Shiatsu massage with Nurtured Birth’s therapist. You can book through this link.  

#3: Family photos

A new mum doesn’t feel very glamorous after birth. A family photo session gives her an excuse to feel beautiful and have lasting memories of herself in these early days of motherhood. 

It’s not unusual for mums to spend more of their time behind the camera, capturing the special moments of the family, and missing out on the chance to be in photos themselves.

Support new mums this Mother’s Day to start a special tradition, by engaging a professional photographer to create lasting memories each year. 

#4: Help her have a night out/day off

After birth, the postnatal period can be quite stressful for new mums as they juggle all the demands of a newborn baby. The focus is often so much on the baby that a new mum can feel really lost and isolated as well. 

One way you can support new mums this Mother’s Day is to organise a special night out. If her baby is old enough to leave for a few hours with a trusted family member or friend, book a table at her favourite restaurant, or any special event she’s been keen to attend (theatre, live gig, movie … the list is endless!). 

If the baby is very young, leaving them may not be an option. Instead why not support new mums to have the day off, so she doesn’t have to lift a finger at all. Present her with breakfast in bed, a new book to read or movie to watch, order in lunch or dinner, and make her feel like the queen she is! 

#5: Hire a housekeeper for the day

New mums are often so exhausted by the day to day of having a small baby that the household chores drop far down the list of priorities.

The fourth trimester is a time to cocoon with her little one, and it’s always much easy to relax into this when her surroundings are calm and tidy. 

One of the best ways to support her this Mother’s Day is to hire a housekeeper, someone who not just cleans but organises things like shopping, cooking and sorting the endless piles of washing. 

What Are The Risks And Benefits Of C-Section Birth?

It’s important to know the risks and benefits of c-section birth. 

Most expecting parents plan and hope to meet their baby after a normal and natural birth. Yet 1 in 3 babies in Australia are born via c-section. 

Sometimes this is necessary for the safety of either mother and baby. C-sections can also happen as a result of the cascade of intervention. This means earlier interventions have disrupted the normal process of labour, leading to c-section being necessary to prevent further harm. 

The World Health Organization recommend c-section should only be performed for medical reasons. Yet research is showing overuse of obstetric interventions is increasing with no evidence of medical need. 

We cover this in our blog post Why Have A C-Section Birth?

Deciding to have a c-section isn’t something anyone should feel pressured into. You need to consider the risks and benefits of c-section birth for the short term. You also need to think about how a c-section birth might affect your future pregnancies and birth options.  

To help you be as informed as possible about your birth options, in this blog we’re looking at the risks and benefits of c-section birth. 

What are the benefits of a c-section?

The benefits of c-section centre around reducing the risk of harm to either mother or baby during labour and birth. 

This means if normal labour and birth increases the chances either the mother or baby could be harmed or die, then the benefit of a c-section is to reduce that risk. 

In rare situations, the fear of giving birth naturally is so extreme that it affects a woman’s mental health. This is known as tokophobia and can lead to pregnancy termination, avoiding prenatal care, and post traumatic stress disorder or other mental health disorders. After birth, it can affect a mother’s ability to bond with her baby. Planning a c-section in this situation may be of benefit. 

There is some reduction in the risk of pelvic prolapse compared to vaginal birth, but this is controversial as it’s suggested this only benefits women who have already had surgery to correct prolapse. 

Babies who have certain abnormalities or known health conditions which may require immediate life saving treatment may benefit from being born quickly at a certain point in pregnancy. 

Risks of having a c-section

Risks of c-sections relate mostly around those that aren’t medically necessary. As we know, many women end up having a c-section as a result of interference with the natural process of labour. 

Some will choose to have a c-section for no medical reason other than convenience but this is becoming rarer as health organisations are beginning to acknowledge the burden of c-section on the health system, women and babies. 

C-section risks for mothers:

  • A reaction to the anaesthetic used during the surgery can cause severe headaches.
  • Needing to stay in hospital longer after birth
  • Longer recovery period needed
  • Blood loss that leads to needing a blood transfusion 
  • Risk of surgical injury to other organs
  • Needing to have a hysterectomy during or after surgery
  • Blood clots on the lungs or pelvic organs
  • Infection of the bladder, uterus or the site of the incision, causing pain and discomfort in the short term, and lead to long term use of antibiotics and potentially further surgery
  • Problems in future pregnancies, related to placenta position, scar rupture, or ectopic pregnancy forming in the uterine scar
  • Scar tissue causing adhesions that lead to organs sticking to the abdominal wall or each other, causing pain and future health issues

Maternal death is increased after a c-section, compared to vaginal birth (4 times more likely after an emergency and 3 times more likely after planned c-sections. 

C-section risks for babies

  • There is a small risk of your baby being cut as the incision is being made. This is more likely to happen if your waters have broken before the surgery, you’re in active labour, the surgeon isn’t experienced, you’ve had a previous uterine incision
  • Your baby is born prematurely, especially if you have chosen an elective or planned c-section. Estimated due dates are simply guesses of when your baby will reach full term and be ready for life outside the womb
  • Breathing problems that require special care after birth. This can either be due to being born early, or the c-section was planned and labour hadn’t started. Contractions push fluid from your baby’s lungs ready for breathing. An elective c-section bypasses this process and causes fast, laboured breathing. 
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension, which is when your newborn’s system doesn’t transition and continues to flow as it did in the uterus, increasing the blood pressure and lowering oxygen levels. This is more likely to occur in babies born by planned c-section
  • Future health seems to be affected, with babies born via c-section being more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, obesity, and asthma. It’s thought this is due to babies not being exposed to healthy bacteria in the birth canal 

Babies born via c-section are more likely to be separated from their mothers for the first minutes to hours. This is the time when babies undergo the transition from womb to world and they’re innately hardwired to be close to their mother’s body to get all the benefits. Separation after c-section can impact early bonding and breastfeeding.

Being prepared for birth means being informed and considering all your options. Nurtured Birth offers a range of services to help you navigate whatever your birth journey ends up being.

Contact us to find out more about our birth education classes, workshops on choosing care providers, and birth doula services.