The Midwifery Model of Care and Gentle Birth Providers We Love

What exactly does that mean? Citizens for Midwifery offers this definition:

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

 The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

And here you can download the pdf or read online the brochure that offers a more complete explanation.

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There are some groups in Atlanta who offer midwifery in their services but really lack the midwifery model. They are often nicknamed medwives since they follow more the medical model of care. It reminds me of someone who goes to a “more holistic” type physician but he calls in antibiotics before seeing the patient in the office to determine if they really need antibiotics. We have had midwives walk in the room and immediately spout, “I love epidurals, ” before even asking what type of birth the mom desires. There are some midwives who want to practice midwifery but are being dictated to follow more of the medical model since they are employees of the OB practice. There are a few groups in town who have only one midwife. Since that midwife is not able to be on call the whole month every day, it means that often you will see the OB instead of the midwife. That is not the model of midwifery care. And it also makes you wonder if the physicians really support the model of care. There are groups in town who share call with their midwives- you never know who you will get, perhaps the midwife or one of the doctors. That is also not the midwifery model of care. That does not mean you won’t get good care, it is just not the model that is considered midwifery.

In Atlanta there are a few midwifery groups we enjoy working with a lot since they follow the midwifery model. There may be a midwife or two in the group who is less personable or more interventive, but overall the groups are true midwifery models. One group who is led by a midwife with over 40 years of supporting this model is Intown Midwifery under the leadership of Margaret Strickhouser, CNM. They support birth out of Atlanta Medical Center and offer water birth – even to VBACs.  They offer their meet and greet the first Wednesday of each month. Here is their facebook page.

Marsha Ford, CNM is part of a group: OBGyn &  Midwife Associates. She has been the solo midwife in that group for a while. But recently they hired a new midwifery graduate, Angelina Ruffin, CNM. They also provide services at AMC and offer water births and VBACs and take medicaid. I personally know Marsha but have not attended a birth with her, and although that is a reason I would usually not refer to her until I had, a few of our doulas have attended births along side of her and attest to their wonderful midwifery model of care. Their facebook page is located here.

Another group, or should I say two groups is Providence Women’s Healthcare and NileMidwife Group. They share call with each other but are two groups really. Providence offers a Meet and Greets  to meet the group of midwives. We are invited to this and usually have one of our doulas attend this meet and greet.  Isis offers a meet and greet too, but the person who overseses it makes it a  closed affiliate group and have as an affiliate program that you must not be a group of doulas. Since we are a group of doulas and educators, they do not “allow” us to attend. I know, weird, but the marketing person for Isis does her things her way irregardless of it being best for folks to meet all the doulas who want to attend. But I digress.) So if you want to meet the midwives who cover each other I am guessing you need to try to attend both meetings to do so.  They offer water birth options but not to VBACs at North Fulton where they practice. They have a couple of different offices, but as of today only practice midwifery at North Fulton. Their facebook page offers info on their meetings- Providence Midwifery and Isis Midwives.

Most of these midwifery groups offer family centered cesareans if needed. (working toward this at North Fulton) And they all welcome the support of your doula in attendance for the birth. The staff of each hospital is different but needless to say the staff is used to hearing sounds from their labor rooms of women in labor and giving birth naturally!

It is nice to live in an area where the midwifery model of care is being practiced. There are a few other groups outside of the metro area who offer true midwifery as well. We doula in Athens and the Gainesville area where midwifery is offered. This is not an all inclusive list for sure. I am hopeful that there are other groups of midwives offering this type of care in Atlanta. If you want to share your group in the comments section on the blog so others can know of this care, please do so. But as the owner of a busy doula practice, I can say these are the groups we are most familiar with and we feel offer the most options. We are lucky to live where midwifery and water births are offered.