One of the common things we hear is “why should I have a midwife when I’m planning to have an epidural?” (Genia covers that one here!) But it’s not just epidurals. We hear this question a lot in various formats — “Why should I get a midwife when I’m planning on having a hospital birth?” Or, “Why should I have a midwife if I’m having another c-section?”
And so on and so forth. There is a long list of reasons why folks believe they don’t need or want midwifery care, and they often centre around the birth experience.
Birth is only one piece of your maternity healthcare. It’s an important piece, to be sure, but it is far from the only aspect to consider. There are also the numerous prenatal and postpartum appointments—not to mention breastfeeding support—to think about.
Ontario midwives see you at home 3 times in the first week regardless of where you choose to have your baby, and remain on-call for you 24/7 for the first 6 weeks of your baby’s life. These visits and support are invaluable parts of midwifery care. Staying home means that you can focus on rest, healing, feeding, and getting to know your new baby.
Home visits happen so frequently in the first week to ensure both your and your baby’s well-being. We come to monitor baby’s weight gain, to offer the same routine tests and screens for your baby that they would receive after 24 hours in hospital, and to provide assistance and reassurance with breastfeeding or chestfeeding. (Wondering what chestfeeding is? You can read more about it here.)
Wondering what healthcare at home looks like?
After the birth of your baby, we see you in the first 12 to 24 hours of your baby’s life. At this visit we:
- monitor your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature;
- assess your baby’s heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature;
- assess your baby for jaundice; and
- assist with breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
Babies don’t get weighed at this visit. Weighing your baby happens for the first time after birth at the next visit. This is because your milk is starting to come in around that time and babies are generally at their lowest weight. We also offer Ontario Newborn Screening between 24-72 hours of your baby’s life (you can read more about this here).
In the other two visits, which typically happen on days 3 and 5 postpartum, we do all of the same things as we do on Day 1, but we also weigh your baby (read more about our cool scales here!) to ensure he or she is gaining weight well.
Again, all of these visits are done in the comfort of your own home. This style of community-based maternity healthcare also has the benefit of being less expensive for the healthcare system than hospital-based maternity care and is supported by excellent outcomes for birthing parents and babies. You can kick back, relax, enjoy your coffee, and we’ll come to you!
Becky Yurkowski is a student midwife with Generations Midwifery Care. Learn more about Becky here.