What is Midwifery-led Care?

With the medicalised model of birth that dominates today, we sometimes lose our perspective on this incredible milestone in the life of a woman and her family. It is possible to ensure the safe delivery of a child into this world while remaining respectful of the powerful emotional and spiritual aspects of childbirth.

Every woman has the right to have her fears alleviated and both her physical and emotional needs met during childbirth. Every woman has the right to be treated with love and respect at this pivotal moment in her life.

An active birth is a normal, natural birth, without (some, depending) medical intervention, in which a woman follows her own instinctive responses working with her body to enable her baby to be born. If women were to labour in a relaxing, secure environment with good support and the freedom to move around, most would know instinctively what to do. Active birth enables a labouring woman to respond naturally to her birthing process and to make appropriate choices. Women are encouraged to remain mobile and upright and to adopt the position of their choice during labour and birth and unnecessary restrictions and procedures are minimised. Fundamentally it is an attitude of respect and support for the labouring woman and her family. 

Midwife-led care is based on a strong belief and respect for birth as a normal life event.

The modern midwife is a healthcare professional  who undergoes extensive training and specialises in natural normal birth. They work with women and their families throughout pregnancy, childbirth and in the weeks following birth.  A midwife provides personal, more intimate care than generally associated with a physician and respects the natural process of pregnancy, labour and birth. They have the expertise and skills necessary to care for healthy women with low risk pregnancies and at the same time maintain associations with other healthcare providers. Midwives consider birth a natural event in women’s lives. Midwifery is based on the belief that childbirth is (and should be), a natural, healthy process and that most women are fully capable of giving birth. Midwives see pregnancy as part of the full spectrum of life’s experiences, and they believe women have the right to a fulfilling, as well as a safe, childbirth experience.

Midwives improve the outcome of labour and birth.

Evidence based research has shown that midwives achieve the same outcomes as physicians without disrupting the natural birth process as often. In fact, care from midwives has significantly lower rates of induced labour, episiotomies, and forcep births. Midwives are most actively involved in a woman’s preparation for childbirth and their support and education reduces the length of labour, avoiding unnecessary medical interventions and improves birth outcomes.  Midwifery care is proven to be safe. “Most women are healthy and have straightforward pregnancies and births. Over the years, evidence has emerged which shows that, for this group of women, giving birth in a midwife-led unit instead of a traditional labour ward is a safe option.” ~ Professor Mark Baker, NICE’s (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) clinical practice director. [1]

Did you know that with midwifery-led care:

*Women who give birth under the care of a midwife are more likely to have: [2]

  • Lower rates of birth by caesarean section.
  • Lower rates of induced labour. 
  • Significantly lower rates of third and fourth degree tears from delivery and less episiotomy rates.
  • Higher success of breastfeeding. 

Midwifery care involves informed use of technology.

At Genesis Clinic, we have all the available medical technology. If the need for a Caesarean Section arises, Genesis’ state-of-the-art theatre and neonatal resuscitation unit is ready at all times. This is why, your prenatal consultations with one of Genesis’ affiliated gynaecologists, will give you the final ‘go-ahead’ for a natural, low-risk birth. If you need a Caesarean Section, your gynaecologist and medical team will be on call immediately.

You and your baby’s safety is our main concern and therefore we all have the essential medical back-up in place.

We encourage our mothers to draw on their support systems during pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period, therefore we    have a family-centred approach to maternity care.  Our rooming-in  policy ensures that baby stays with mom all the time, unless there is a medical indication and baby needs specialized care. Genesis Clinic is a mom and baby friendly accredited hospital where our midwifery support is focused on assisting new families to adapt to this life changing event.

Women can expect one-on-one attention during birth and high quality prenatal and postpartum care.

Consultations  are scheduled with substantial time to address questions and concerns. Midwives provide care that focuses on health promotion, education and shared decision making. Their actions are guided by the Midwifery Model of Care which includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, physiological and social well-being of the mother throughout her prenatal, labour, birth and postnatal period.
  • Providing the mother and partner with individualised education, counselling and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labour, birth and postpartum support.
  • Minimising unnecessary technological or medical  interventions.
  • Identifying and referring women who require gynaecological intervention.

Natural birth is safe.

We believe women should have the choice of where and how to birth. Genesis Clinic’s approach to labour and birth is based on centuries of wisdom: when women are allowed to labour and birth instinctively, the result is empowering and transforming for the mother and partner and whole family. Our clients are supported and educated in their birth plans and decisions. Women choose the positions in labour that feel best to them, they choose their support team for the birth and what procedures are performed on the baby after delivery. Your baby is not removed from you, unless absolutely necessary. The bond between parents and their newborn is often much stronger after a natural birth as mother and baby are allowed to bond immediately. Natural hormones are a powerful tool to the natural childbirth advocate.

Midwives take time to offer personalised care.

Midwives respect that clients are individuals and because of their personal, cultural, and religious beliefs, every birth experience is different. Midwifery care involves education, health awareness, social support, and clinical assessment. Midwifery encourages mind-body connections, recognising the spiritual and emotional aspects of birth, allowing women to birth with strength and dignity. Midwives encourage women and their families to make informed choices, creating an atmosphere in which they can celebrate the miracle of birth, wherever they choose to be.

Midwifery care is more cost effective.

Using a midwife not only lowers the chance of birth complications, but it has also been proven to cut medical expenses as well.[3] Women who used a midwife as their primary caregiver throughout their pregnancy were less likely to have unnecessary medical interventions, thus cutting costs. Your prenatal consultations and birthing costs with our In-House midwives is incredibly cost-effective without compromising care. Women appreciate continuity of care and particularly want one-to-one care in labour. Outcomes are better when they receive care throughout from the same midwife or a small group of midwives. [4]

What about VBAC’s? Vaginal Birth after a Caesarean.

Vaginal birth, even after a caesarean section, can be a safe and healthy option for most women. Women who would like to enquire whether they are suitable candidates for a VBAC, will have to book their prenatal appointments and must birth with a private midwife at Genesis Clinic. We do not offer VBAC options for our In-House Birth Unit.

Research Based Evidence for Midwife-led Care:

1.National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Press Release, 3 December 2014.

2.American College of Nurse-Midwives, ACNM Releases Research Showing Significant Midwifery Care Benefits, May 15, 2012.

3.Nursing and Midwifery Council, Final Report to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, November 2010.

4.The Lancet Series, Midwifery, June 23, 2014.