The Midwife: A Steadily Growing and Natural Childbirth Option
June 17, 2006
Since 1990, the number of women giving birth with a midwife has doubled, signaling a growing trend among women who seek a more natural -- as opposed to medical -- childbirth.
While only 4 percent of women gave birth with a midwife in 1990, 8 percent of women chose a midwife in 2003, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Pregnancy and birth are expensive when it comes to medical care, so insurance coverage plays a major role in the decision for a lot of families. Many insurance companies do cover the use of a midwife, as long as she is licensed and working in a hospital or birthing center. Coverage for midwives who are not certified, or who work outside of a hospital setting, is less widespread and varies by state and health plan.
However, the major reason why most families chose a midwife was to experience a more natural birth. Contrary to traditional hospital births, midwives generally encourage using drug-free, natural methods of childbirth.
Those who have used a midwife describe the experience as soothing and private, and say having the freedom to go through labor and give birth in a way that feels comfortable to them, such as in a bathtub, was empowering.