Today is International Day of the Midwife and we are celebrating midwives around the world! This year’s theme is “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever,” which contributes to a continued effort to shed light on what midwives do and why there’s a growing need for our specialty care.

A licensed midwife provides a natural and safe alternative to a hospital birth with an OB-GYN. Some hospitals offer midwife care, but most licensed midwives operate out of an accredited birth center. While it’s well known that an OB-GYN has completed a four-year medical degree followed by a three-year fellowship, many don’t know that midwives are also highly trained and have required certifications and degrees. Midwives are trained health care professionals who provide maternity and gynecological care. They are licensed by the medical board, and are responsible for the health and safety of mom and baby, just as a doctor is. Midwives perform gynecological and fetal examinations as needed.

Midwives are specifically trained in natural birth and believe that women naturally possess the ability to bring a child into this world—without drugs and hospital procedures. If you choose to have a licensed midwife be your birth provider, your pregnancy care will start immediately and you will have a continuous level of care throughout labor, delivery, and postpartum support. At the SCV Birth Center, we incorporate natural pain management techniques which diminish the need for pain management medication and greatly lower the risk of cesarean section.

Midwives make an effort to create a personal bond with each and every mom-to-be. We will be as involved in your birth plan as you need and will perform all well-woman care as needed. We make close connections with your personal support network and empower women to take control of their birth plans. If, for some reason, your medical circumstances require you to birth in a hospital, a midwife can be involved in your gynecological care and will remain with you throughout the process.

Midwives are not to be confused with doulas. The two types of doulas you’ve probably heard of are birth doulas and postpartum doulas. A birth doula will provide emotional support and encouragement throughout your birthing process. They support the overall comfort and experience of mommy and baby. Postpartum doulas assist in the transition of welcoming the new baby into the existing family, as well as lactation consultation for the new mommy. Although the value of the services they provide should not be diminished, doulas do not complete any medical or clinical tasks, therefore are not required to hold medical certifications. Instead, their extensive certifications are centered around “mothering the mother” and carrying for her supporters.

Santa Clarita Valley Birth Center is SCV’s first free-standing birth center. We empower women to use their natural ability to birth without a dependence on arbitrary hospital policies. Through home birth and waterbirth, babies are welcomed to the world safely and naturally.

To learn more about the SCV Birth Center, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for pregnancy tips, natural birth news, upcoming events, and more! We’ll also be posting a new blog here every Thursday.