It’s time to reveal a bit more about myself. The health care provider I decided on is…drum roll please…a certified nurse-midwife at a birth center. You can probably figure out where I work now, but I’m still not ready to type it out in hopes of this post not showing up in the communications department’s newsfeed Monday morning.
Yesterday was my first visit ever to a midwife, and I was anxious to see whether my preconceptions about the type of care midwives provide would hold true. Here’s what I expected, and what actually happened.
Preconception 1: You can go to a midwife for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care as well as primary care even when you’re not pregnant.
What Happened: The first midwifery practice I called before I was pregnant was not able to accommodate my primary care needs, and I ended up having to go to a nurse practitioner. The second midwifery practice I called when I was 4 weeks pregnant asked if I needed a referral to a primary care provider. They specialize in prenatal, birth, postpartum, and well-woman care and want you to have a primary care provider on hand. I realize this isn’t true of all midwives, but it was a bit disillusioning since I thought that most midwives provide primary care.
Preconception 2: Midwives spend plenty of time with their patients.
What Happened: I spent 45 minutes with the midwife at my first prenatal appointment.
Preconception 3: Midwives give the best pelvic and breast exams.
What Happened: This was true hands-down. My midwife had the best bedside manners I’ve ever experienced in this department. First, I was given a top and bottom drape that actually covered all the goods. The progression was blood pressure, breast exam, abdomen palpation, pelvic exam. Throughout the exam, he continued to interact with me just as if I was sitting in the chair wearing my street clothes. My previous health care providers almost acted like it was an awkward experience for them. They diverted their eyes. They made no conversation. My midwife continued to ask questions and educated me about what he was doing through each step. He also told me I have a gynecoid pelvis—the most common and best type for giving birth.
Preconception 4: Midwives are usually women.
What Happened: My midwife is a man. (I knew this before my first appointment.) I think the practice has 3 other midwives who are women. I will most likely get to know each of them so that I’ll be familiar with whoever is on call the day my little bean bursts into the world.
Who is your health care provider of choice? How did they measure up to your expectations at your first prenatal? If you’re not yet pregnant, what kind of health care providers are you scoping out and why?