Monday, November 07, 2005

Midwifery Model of Care (as defined by Birthingway College)

Midwives are trained independent practitioners, who are specialists in natural, vaginal childbirth and in well-woman gynecological care.
Pregnancy and birth are healthy processes, with a wide range of normal variations.
Pregnancy and childbirth usually progress best without interference, which inevitably alters and frequently harms the reproductive process.
Each woman and family is unique, and best served by individualized, non-routinized care.
A midwife's role is not to manage, but to support, encourage and guide. A midwife does not empower women, rather she assists women as they empower themselves.
Midwives provide continuity of care throughout the reproductive year, and integrated care for the woman, infant, and family.
The focus of midwifery care is the childbearing woman and her family. Pregnancy and birth are major life experiences of the woman, not the birth attendant.
Midwives honor and support a woman's right to make her own decisions. Active use of informed choice is an essential part of midwifery practice.
Midwives believe in the intrinsic value of childbirth as a process, while simultaneously working toward the goal of a healthy mother and infant.
Midwives strive to be inclusive and cooperative in their interactions with clients and peers, rather than oppositional or controlling, with knowledge shared freely.
Midwives are best trained by other midwives. Hands-on learning should be a major component of midwifery education.
While childbearing women and families are responsible for the outcomes of their own decisions, midwives have responsibility for maintaining a safe situation. Skills must be kept current and knowledge updated so that the midwife can optimally perform her tasks of overseeing the progress of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum; providing well-woman gynecological care; observing signs and detecting problems; promoting health and encouraging prevention; and utilizing midwifery knowledge and skills to rectify problems or consult/refer as appropriate.

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