Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is Midwife Care Superior to Physician Care?

Whatever shortfalls are pointed out in our maternity care system, the birth advocates sing the usual response, "Midwives, all we need is more midwives."

In England, where midwives are still the norm for delivering babies, it seems every day there is another horror story coming out of the maternity wards. They all revolve around midwife and funding shortages.

In the attached article, (click here to read MailOnline article), a former hospital midwife reveals what type of care women are getting in England by the midwives.

My take on the story is that the "midwifery model of care." that is extolled by advocates in the United States is no longer being given at NHS hospitals due to resource allocations.

I want to make clear, that I am a huge supporter of midwives and the midwives model of care. I also have no intention of EVEN trying  to answer the question: "Is midwifery care superior to physician care?"

I want to point out that if midwifery care were to become the norm in this country, the midwives would come under the same huge time and dollar pressures as physicians . It is quite possible that what what today is heralded as the standard that midwives give their patients, tomorrow could become a distant memory.

If tomorrow the physicians agreed that midwives (CNM's, CMS, CPM's, LMS, etc.) would deliver half the babies that are born in the U.S., and if there are 7500 practicing midwives (Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd informs me that no one really knows the number of midwives in the US actually delivering babies) than each midwife would have to deliver almost 600 babies per year.

How much time do you think a midwife could spend with each pregnant woman if she had to deliver 600 babies per year?


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