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More Pregnant Women Choose Midwives

In the past decade, the number of women choosing nurse-midwives has doubled, according to a survey published in American Baby magazine (11/03). The survey results also revealed that mothers who received midwifery care spent more time with their primary provider (their midwife), experienced fewer surgical interventions such as Cesarean-section and episiotomies, and required less medication than those whose births were attended by physicians. To put these data in perspective, however, it must be noted that nurse midwives generally perform deliveries only in women with relatively low-risk pregnancies.

Nurse-midwives provide prenatal care and attend deliveries either alone or collaboratively with physicians. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health (June 2003) documented that low-risk patients receiving collaborative midwifery care had birth success rates comparable to those who saw only physicians, with fewer interventions, and lower cost to the health care system.

Nurse-midwives are licensed in all 50 states and attend 10% of vaginal births nationwide. Nurse-midwives can provide safe, patient-centered care for low-risk maternity patients and gynecological care for women of all ages. This is an option that women may increasingly consider as more and more obstetrician gynecologists stop performing deliveries as a result of the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance and other pressures.

Created: 2/12/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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