I <3 my midwives

When I first told my family that we were seeing a group of midwives for the baby’s birth, they didn’t even think twice about it. They know it’s more “me” to go a non-conventional route, but it’s kind of funny considering midwife-led births are far more common all over the world and are recently starting to spring back into popularity in the states.

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When I first started researching pregnancy and the birth process last summer, I was shocked to discover that many women in labor are treated like they have a disease or something wrong with them. Women’s bodies are designed for childbirth – it’s an entirely natural process. [There’s a TON of info about this in “Your Best Birth” and the documentary “The Business of Being Born”, which can be viewed online for free] As soon as I read Ina May’s Natural Guide to childbirth, I knew I wanted to have a midwife-led birth.

[Birth snippets in the trailer- may be weird to watch at work]

[While I liked “The Business of Being Born” – it opened my eyes to a LOT- I definitely took it with a grain of sea salt. A lot of the info presented was fantastic, but a lot of it was “the government is out to get you, wah wah”, so I just took parts of it to store in my brain and left the rest, ya know?]

*****Of course, this post is not meant to spark some doctors vs. midwives debate, because that’s not at all what it’s about. There are tons of amazing doctors out there and there are some midwives that suck. I just wanted to give my experience so far and why I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s up to all of us to research and make our our health decisions.

For those of you who may not be familiar with midwives and what they do, here’s the downlow from Wiki:

In the United States, a Certified Nurse-Midwife ("CNM") is an Advanced Practice Nurse who has specialized education and training in both Nursing and Midwifery. CNM’s function as primary healthcare providers for women and most often provide medical care for relatively healthy women, whose birth is considered uncomplicated and not "high risk," as well as their neonate. Certified Nurse-Midwives, in most states, are required to possess a minimum of a graduate degree such as the Master of Science in Nursing, or Post-Master’s Certificate. By 2010, all Certified Nurse Midwives will be required to hold a graduate (Masters) degree.[1] Most recently, the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has become available for Certified Nurse-Midwives and will graduate its first class in May 2010.[citation needed] Additionally, Certified Nurse Midwives must also hold an active Registered Nurse license in the state in which they practice. Certified Nurse Midwives practice in hospitals and medical clinics, and may also deliver in birthing centers and attend at-home births. They are able to prescribesome medications, treatments, medical devices, therapeutic and diagnostic measures, et al. in all 50 states.


The midwives we’re seeing practice in a group, and it’s recommended to see as many as possible because there’s no way of knowing who will be on call when you go into labor. The good thing for me is that out of the 5 I’ve met, they’ve all been fantastic.

Here’s why I’ve been happy with their care so far:

1. A non-traditional experience. I’m SO used to being rushed off by doctors. The ones I’ve seen in my lifetime have always been in a hurry, quick to write prescriptions and get me out the door and on my way. With our first midwife appointment, I was blown away by the time she took with me to answer questions. She sat there and said “ok, what else do you have questions about?” – we could have had lunch in there. It was amazing. All of our appointments have been like that. One time, a midwife was running late and she asked if I was doing ok, and I said yes but I was ready to get some food, so she brought me some Trader Joe’s trail mix to munch as I waited.

In today’s appointment, not only did I get to hear that sweet baby’s heartbeat, but the midwife (who has delivered babies for 30 years!!) asked me what name we’d chosen for the baby and talked to the baby, using her name while she measured the size (right on track) and listened to the heartbeat. She answered all of my questions, went over my previous test results with me, hugged and kissed me goodbye.

2. Support and encouragement. I’ve so refreshing to be constantly encouraged about my diet and exercise schedule. The midwives have been totally fine with me maintaining my fitness schedule within reason (no supine or prone exercises, and make sure I can say a full sentence while exercising) and are totally cool with my quasitarian eating ways 🙂 The only thing they want me to focus on is more protein and iron.

3. Similar ideals. Today, I had a lot of questions about induction and birth process policies. She said that they wait 41 weeks until they start to discuss induction options (which she originally wasn’t a fan of because she liked 42 weeks- however, statistics determined that by waiting up to 42 weeks there were more stillbirths since the placenta stopped working as effectively).

We looked at my due date (which was based on my last cycle), and I told her that I ovulate later that most people. I had ovulated on day 17, instead of day 14 like the due date calculators assume, so she increased my due date by 3 days. She asked how I knew I ovulated that day and I told her I tracked my cycles using the Fertility Awareness Method – that’s all she needed to know to change it. Amazing… so that will give me a little more time and won’t subject me to be induced 3 days earlier than I would need to be.

As far as birth policies go, she said “you can definitely write a birth plan, but I can go ahead and promise you that your plan is my plan.” It’s their policy to assume to want a natural birth, unless you request otherwise, place the baby on your chest directly after birth and wait for the cord to stop pulsing before it is cut. 3 things that were critical to me. So I may not end up writing a birth plan. The midwives know what I want, our doula (who is going to be a rock star… I’m lucky to have her) knows what I want, and Tom knows what I want. We’re all going to go in there with a goal in mind, but flexible if things need to go another way.

So, since little nugette has a real name now, should I keep calling her nuggette, or using the first initial for something? 😀

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  1. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on August 31, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I am so happy you are happy with what is happening with you. It is SO important to feel comfortable. I am excited to learn the babys first name initial!

  2. Laura @ Backstage Balance on August 31, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Wait, the baby’s name isn’t officially Nugette? j/k 🙂 Call her whatever you’re comfortable with for the blog!
    Your experience with midwives sounds very positive and good. I don’t really know anything about the process of having a child, so I really enjoy these family posts. Can you explain the pulsing cord thing?
    If I ever decide to have a baby, I’ll definitely feel positive towards seeking midwife care!

  3. Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) on August 31, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Can I buy an ‘E’? Haha this is a fun game 🙂

    Elena? I always imagined your nugette’s name would have an ‘L’ in it somewhere… don’t know why!

    • Rachel on August 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      I thought of Eva Lynne or Evaline for the E’s.

  4. Maddy on August 31, 2011 at 1:47 am

    So glad you’re having a great experience with them. props to you for 1. doing your research and 2. following through with what you want!! You are going to be wonderful parents, she’ll be lucky to grow up in such a special, loving home.

    I’m SO curious about her name! 🙂 I vote for a first initial!

  5. Emma Angelic on August 31, 2011 at 4:45 am

    It’s weird to hear that in the States getting a midwife is looked upon as a more ‘unusual’ way – having a midwife for the delivery is just standard practice in the UK! I vote for using a first initial, I’m so curious as to her name! Will you share her full name when she’s born? x

    • Fitnessista on August 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

      yep 🙂

      • Emma Angelic on August 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        Yay, can’t wait to find out! 😀

  6. Jenna Zoe on August 31, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Feeling like you have someone on your wavelength is THE most important thing so its really great you already have that 🙂
    I think you should keep baby name to yourselves until she’s born – sometimes they come out ‘looking like’ a different name, so reserve the right to change it 😉

  7. Madeline (Food Fitness & Family) on August 31, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I think ultimately it depends on what kind of practice you go with. I use the military providers on base where I am and have seen a NUMBER of providers at this point being 34 weeks. I have seen the good, bad, and ugly of OB’s, NP’s, and MW’s. Ultimately it is just finding who ‘fits’ with you – regardless of what the initials at the end of their name is!

    Regardless of who delivers my baby I am going to be glad to have a doctor on the floor for any emergency that pops up! MW’s aren’t trained to deal with many of the complications of delivery so I will be thankful to have someone who is handy 🙂 All I care about in the end is the safe delivery of my baby girl 🙂

  8. Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run on August 31, 2011 at 8:49 am

    SO??? What’s her name? Did I miss a post over the Hurricane weekend?? Anyone??

  9. Mellissa on August 31, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Not a mom but I have been a labor coach 2 times and it is the best experience to be in that room. I watched both movies suggested in the comments above and took it with a grain of salt. I am a strong advocate of doing what works for you! Only you know whats best for your baby and body and so many people try to give their 2 cents.

  10. Carrie on August 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I’m impressed you have a name picked out already! I’d be too “scared” to call my baby by a name and let everyone know in case upon seeing him or her, I totally change my mind.

    My husband is in medical school, so I imagine his reaction to where we would have the baby would be much like the Pilot’s response to circumcision: “F– yes you’re giving birth in a hospital with an OB-GYN!”

  11. Sarah on August 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I’m really not close to having a child, but I love reading your posts. It some how makes me feel like I’m getting advice from a friend to store for when I need it 🙂
    I can’t wait to hear the nuggette’s name but I’ll probably always think of her as Nugget lol!

  12. April on August 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Ah, so sweet your midwife spoke to your ‘lil one, that is so adorable!
    I chose a midwife as well, however at the hospital i am delivering at they assign you a dr. too, so i rotate between the two for appts. And it is funny, i am ‘connecting’ more w/the dr. than the midwife – BUT interestingly enough, their philosophies are almost exactly the same, i don’t find much of a difference between the two – they both know what i want and are supporting me 100% unless another route is needed.
    You are prepared girl, so awesome!!!!

  13. Jessica on August 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I have only seen parts of “The Business of Being Born” but it is an eye opener huh? I’ve never been pregnant so can’t personally state from experience, but when that time comes I would probably be more comfortable with a midwife or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). I prefer a more homeopathic approach towards health. So glad to hear that you’re experiences have been positive!

  14. Annalisa on August 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Hey Gina! I just we want to mention that not all midwives are created equal. I thought I wanted a midwife to attend the birth of our now 4 month old (!) but just didn’t jive with those groups on a personal level. After some searching and interviewing (we did the large practice groups, 2 midwives, homebirth midwives, and some hospitals) we found a great solo practicing OB. After finding my doc, we found a few others that are solo practicing family physicians. Man, what a great alternative. Both my OB and our ped/family practice doc do everything in their office and they are completely holistic and available 24/7. I only thought there was docs and there were midwives so for women wanting a 3rd option, I strongly encourage looking into solo practicing doctors.

  15. Annalisa on August 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    PS – do you have a doula? I’m so glad I had one — even though I got to the hospital and was all ready at 10 (speedy fast 1st baby!) my doula knew what would help me with transition and pushing. My doc and husband were great but the doula rubbed/iced/coached perfectly. If I had a longer labor, I would have really needed her!

    • Fitnessista on August 31, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      i do! she’s AMAZING 🙂

  16. Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) on August 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I’m so glad you’re having such a positive experience with the midwives! And YES, let’s start using the name or initial!! 🙂

  17. CheezyK on August 31, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Well, I am officially the least qualified person to make any comment on your birthing experience save to say that I believe you need to do what you believe is best for you (and it sounds like that’s exactly what you are doing). My two cents worth on the name of the little one however is that there’s joy in mystery and I think you should wait until she’ born before revealing anything, even an initial – it will make the announcement all the sweeter. Also, I know many a parent who have decided that their chosen name doesn’t suit the baby once they’ve met her/him.

  18. Kate on September 1, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Interesting post! In New Zealand it is defnitely more common to have a midwife as your lead maternity carer. However, we chose to go down the private care / obstetrician route for our baby, for a variety of reasons, but I had a midwife for my postnatal care who was amazing. I’ll be looking her up for baby #2! Sounds like you have a very sensible approach to a birth plan 🙂

  19. Jess @PinkChilli on September 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Great post!! So exciting as well. I’m so glad you have found a fantastic bunch of people to help you on your journey 🙂

  20. Lyndsay on September 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    At the military hospital where we are, they offer midwives as well as OBs. I went the midwife route and I LOVED the care I was given. Thankfully, I did midwife in a hospital because I did end up having complications so the interventions I needed were readily available. I absolutely do not regret doing it and will use a midwife again if the possibility is available for our next one! Also, we didn’t share anything about Callie’s name until she was born. We just called her Gubby (and poor thing, friends and family still call her that!). 🙂 I don’t know if I have posted here before or simply lurked, but if I haven’t said it, congratulations! Little girls are wonderful!!

  21. Jamie on September 15, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I had my daughter through the military midwives program in Hawaii. I had an amazing experience and would recommend it fully. It was exactly how I had dreamed that it would be.

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