A discussion assignment for one of my classes this week was to write about what I think defines an exemplary midwife and the essence of midwifery care. This seemed like a good place to share these thoughts as well.
An exemplary midwife is one who embodies the Midwives model of care in every interaction she has with her clients. In order to do this she truly gets to know all of her clients on a personal level in order to keep the lines of communication open and to create trust between herself and the client. This allows her to get honest information from the client to better monitor the pregnancy and to know how to provide individualized care. She arrives at births early enough to truly be able to provide continuous care and monitor the birth to make sure everything is going smoothly and watch for signs that things are about to deviate from normal. She knows what to do to prevent this deviation and when to get further assistance. By paying close attention and having a wide knowledge base the exemplary midwife can often prevent the need for technological intervention. She also knows when a woman needs help that is beyond the scope of her practice and ability and refers her to an appropriate care provider.
The exemplary midwife has an evidence based practice, she keeps up on research in order to have a wide knowledge base to be able to know all the options and with her client choose the best course of action. She strives to obtain truly informed consent and with the exception of emergent situations she takes time to confer with her client on what the client feels is the best course of action. She discusses possible emergent situations in advance in order to know how what course of action her client would prefer. If an emergent situations she uses her midwifery knowledge and knowledge of her client's preferences to chose the best course of action.
The definition of essence is “the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing”. With that in mind I feel the essence of midwifery care is trust. The exemplary midwife trusts birth. She trusts her clients and has faith in them that they know their body and can make good decisions. She also trusts in her abilities and knowledge. She knows that birth is not a game and that if not properly managed and monitored things have the potential to go very wrong. Though she has this knowledge she does not allow it to cause her to fear the birth process. Her trust in birth and her client helps them to trust her, themselves, and the birth process as well.