Delivery With a Midwife: What to Expect

Your midwife is your partner through pregnancy and delivery. They will be there to help walk you through the childbirth process and “catch” your baby - an important moment for both parents and the midwife.

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What do midwives do during labor? 

Your midwife is there to support you and guide you through the labor and delivery experience. Due to their medical expertise, they are well equipped to help lead normal childbirth procedures, but where your midwife really shines is in their ability to listen to your desires and craft a unique experience tailored to you.

When do midwives check for dilation? 

Each midwifery practice has its own policy regarding checking for dilation during routine pregnancy exams, but by and large midwives do not check for dilation until you are in labor, as there is no evidence that this practice can accurately determine how soon labor will occur.

How do midwives check for dilation?

Midwives check for dilation during labor by measuring the opening of the cervix during a pelvic exam.

When do midwives induce labor?

Your midwife may choose to induce labor if you are continuing on past your due date and there is medical indication that inducing labor may be necessary and safe. Ultimately, it is a very personal decision that you would make with your midwife during that time.

How do midwives induce labor?

Midwives have the ability to induce labor in a variety of ways. The decision of which method to use in your specific scenario is a decision best made together.

How do midwives break your water?

Your midwife may consider breaking your water during an induction or if labor stalls and they are seeking a more natural way to help the labor process continue. To break your water, your midwife will insert a thin instrument called an amnihook through your cervix in order to tear the membranes. Though not a comfortable procedure, it should not cause significant pain.

Do midwives do epidurals?

Midwives are able to prescribe an epidural; however, an anesthesiologist is the only medical professional allowed to administer one. This is just one of the many ways that a team-based approach to care is used in childbirth.

Where do midwives deliver babies?

Midwives are uniquely positioned to perform deliveries at home, at birthing centers or in hospitals. The midwives at Swedish Hospital assist in labor and delivery within Swedish Hospital’s Family Birthing Center, which offers amazing support to moms seeking alternative birth experiences and midwifery care. 

Do hospitals do water births?

Swedish Hospital offers hydrotherapy and water labor for pain relief and relaxation in jetted tubs during labor. During delivery, you will be navigated out of the tub and into your desired position, as we do not accommodate water births in the tub. 

Can midwives do C-sections?

Midwives cannot perform Cesarean sections (C-sections). If a mother needs a C-section at Swedish Hospital, they have the benefit of being seen by one of our board-certified OB/GYNs, who are well-equipped and experienced in such procedures.

Can I use pain relief during labor if I choose a midwife? 

Yes, midwives offer a variety of pain relief methods to patients. Natural pain management options include the use of Jacuzzis, birthing stools, squatting bars, aromatherapy and nitrous oxide. Midwives can also prescribe IV sedation and epidurals if requested. 

Do midwifes work with doulas? 

Yes, our midwives are happy to work in conjunction with doulas in your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Our midwives can provide guidance on doula agencies we are familiar with to assist you in choosing a doula that is right for you. 

When will my next midwife visit be after my birth?

Immediately after your baby is born, they will be placed on your chest for skin-to-skin bonding time, which has been proven to assist in bonding with baby and success in breastfeeding.

Following birth, your midwife will round to visit you and your baby and answer any questions you may have. They will continue to be an important resource for you after birth, and you may continue to visit them for well-woman care in the months and years that follow.

Contact Us

Request an appointment online or call 773-989-6200.

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