By Melodie Veldhuizen
You have just received the wonderful news that you are pregnant. You have always dreamt of giving birth naturally and would like to embark on the journey (and thereafter) with one person who will be dedicated to your and your baby’s interests from the first stage of pregnancy until after the birth. If you are healthy and medically speaking there are no risks involved, you could seriously consider the assistance of a midwife.
What is a midwife?
- A midwife is mostly also a mom who is convinced that to allow nature to take its course and give birth naturally is the best and safest choice for a mother and her baby.
- She is a qualified nurse in possession of a degree or diploma in nursing. Some midwives specialise and obtain a post-graduate qualification in obstetrics. This equips them with the expertise to in exceptional cases perform forceps of suction delivery and other specialised procedures.
- She has to register with the South African Nurses’ Council and must also be a member of the Midwives’ Association South Africa. If she wishes to practise independently, she also has to register with the Council for Health Professionals, where she will then receive a practice number.
- She has all the essential equipment to take charge of a normal delivery in a professional manner, whether at her practice or during a home birth.
- She is more than a medical practitioner; she is your support right through the pregnancy, during the delivery and also afterwards. She is your and your baby’s prime carer – before, during and after the birth. This is more than a doctor or gynaecologist could ever offer you.
What is the role of a midwife?
- A midwife does not compete with doctors and will never endanger the life of a mother or her baby to at any price comply with the mother’s wish to give birth normally, should complications arise or there be reason for concern. If during the first consultation or later in the pregnancy she realises that there might be possible risks, she will refer the mother to a doctor or gynaecologist, who will make sure whether or not she can give birth normally.
- During the pregnancy and delivery midwives keep their eyes open for potential problems and because they are knowledgeable about all deviations from the normal, they can manage the delivery process with the least amount of interference.
- A midwife assists you right through the pregnancy (some also offer pre-natal classes) as well as during the delivery. She also offers post-natal care to mother and baby. She is mainly in favour of breast-feeding and will assist you to breastfeed your baby. She also takes care of you on a psychological and emotional level.
Where do midwives practise?
- Maternity homes where you book in when you are about to give birth and are discharged when you feel ready. Some of these homes are luxurious and very expensive. The one advantage is that Dad may sleep over. In an emergency you have immediate access to a gynaecologist and a hospital.
- Maternity clinics that function more formally, like a hospital, and where gynaecologists and midwives are on duty.
- Ordinary hospitals that allow midwives to register there to perform deliveries. Some hospitals make a private room available for midwives.
- Midwives in private practice. They have their own consulting room and chambers where mothers give birth. They also have the equipment to handle sonars, water births and home births.
Benefits of a midwife
- Midwives’ tariffs (consultation and delivery) are usually a bit lower than those of a doctor or gynaecologist. Because the mother is usually admitted shortly before the delivery and can be discharged within a few hours if everything is fine with her and the baby, it also lowers the cost.
- Their consultations usually last for an hour, which gives you enough time to ask questions and clear up any uncertainties.
Are you considering a midwife?
Should you want to consider a midwife, visit the website for a list of midwives in private practice. https://www.motherinstinct.co.za/midwives_in_private_practice
Baby and toddler. https://www.netwerk24.com/baba-en-kleuter/Swangerskap/wat-is-n-vroedvrou-20160726
Baby and toddler. https://www.netwerk24.com/baba-en-kleuter/Swangerskap/Die-rol-van-vroedvroue-20150902
Rooi Rose. https://www.rooirose.co.za/dink-nuut-oor-die-vroedvrou-opsie/
Society of Midwives South Africa. http://www.midwivessociety.co.za/about-us.html
Read more about the training of midwives: