When I was 14, I had menstrual health issues. My cramps were so intense that I would have double the pain, and it made school incredibly difficult while I was on my period. My mom didn’t know how to talk about something like that, so she took me to see someone she knew could talk about such a personal health issue, a midwife.
The midwife listened to the symptoms I was experiencing and together we came up with a plan to help stabilize my period. The midwife defended me and really listened to me. It was a pivotal moment for me and one of the reasons I chose to become a midwife; provide a safe place where women can talk about their health needs without fear or judgement.
What is a midwife?
When you look at the etymology of the word midwife, it literally means “with a woman”. Midwives support women at all stages of their lives, whether it’s helping a young teenager with period problems, a woman’s annual pap smear, postpartum or transitioning from menopause. You don’t need to jump from provider to provider instead have one consistent throughout your life. A midwife can help educate in depth about menstrual pain, infertility, pregnancy, labor and delivery, cysts and fibroids, dryness and more.
Differences between a midwife and an OB/GYN
While midwives and OB/GYN providers focus on women’s health care, they differ in a few ways. First, the medical training required is different. An OB/GYN is a doctor who goes through medical school, surgical residency, and then chooses OB/GYN as their goal. Midwives receive their nursing degree and spend a few years in the nursing field, then return to school for a master’s degree in nurse midwifery.
Another major difference is that OB/GYN providers can perform surgeries. Although midwives cannot, they have partnerships with those who can perform surgeries.
The role of a midwife
The unique role of a midwife is to be a chameleon for our patients. Whether you are going through puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause or menopause, a woman’s health has complex needs that a midwife can help manage and manage.
During puberty and adulthood
Midwives can provide basic care from the start. Many common reasons teens and young adults see a midwife are menstrual pain and issues, yeast infections, ultrasounds, checkups, pap smears, and other regular screenings.
Midwives also review family history and help develop a plan of care if there is anything we decide to watch out for. Midwives are also a great place to start if you notice changes and aren’t sure what’s going on or where to get help.
It is also very common for a woman to come forward when she decides she wants to have a child. Midwives help create a plan, educate about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum. And when she becomes pregnant, she can continue to see the same provider.
When you find out you are pregnant, you can see an obstetrician/gynecologist or a midwife depending on which is best for you. There are many misconceptions about the role of a midwife, such as a midwife who only gives birth at home or who only promotes birth without medication. It’s not true at all. It doesn’t matter if you want to be completely drug-free or if you want to be induced and have an epidural – we’re here for you all the time.
It’s also a common misconception that if you need a C-section, you can’t see a midwife. Although midwives do not perform surgeries, we work and have partnerships with providers who do. So if you know you’re going to have another C-section, we’ll be here for you for all your pregnancy health care needs and we’ll be there for you during surgery explaining what’s going on and advocating for you. the weather.
Another aspect of a woman’s health related to pregnancy is postpartum depression. Your hormones are on a roller coaster during pregnancy and after labor and delivery. Hormonal change can be a very strong and drastic experience. Screening for postpartum depression begins during pregnancy, directly after delivery, and throughout the first year after birth. These screenings are one of the many tools we use to help monitor and care for new moms. We work hard to ensure that when you come to see your midwife, you feel safe and supported. Some things we encourage to help with postpartum depression are:
- Socialize with friends and family
- To go out
- Eat nutritious foods
- Stay hydrated
- Seeking Behavioral Health Support
- Request help from the support system
- Breastfeed if possible
These postpartum visits are extremely important. During pregnancy, you might see your midwife between 10 and 14 times. After giving birth, you may only see your provider a handful of times, but that’s when you really need support. This is why it is so important to maintain this relationship with the midwife. If my patient needs me, I’m there. We all need a little extra help sometimes. This is completely normal.
During perimenopause and menopause
There are many changes in a woman’s body as she ages. Perimenopause is the period during which a woman’s body goes through menopause. This transition often begins in the 40s but can begin earlier. During this stage of life, there is a strong emphasis on education and symptom management.
A common thing during this stage of life is incontinence, especially around 10 to 15 years after having your last child. The ligaments and tendons that held the bladder together were pushed down. After a simple pelvic exam, we can recommend therapy focused on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. There are also specific surgeries that we can discuss.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Postpartum depression, incontinence, bone loss, and all other things that are unique to a woman’s health are real and natural occurrences, and we have the education and therapies to help our patients live their best. life.