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BIRTH: When Things Don’t Go As Planned Series - Part 3⠀

Do complications happen in birth? Yes, they do sometimes. In the final piece of this 3-part series, we will explore another aspect of midwifery care that address this important topic.

Principle 3: Your midwife doesn't work alone

Some midwives work in a group midwifery practice. The mother sees multiple midwives in the practice for her prenatal care, and some combination of the midwives will attend the birth. In a solo midwifery practice, the midwife will typically have 1-4 (or more) other midwives that she calls on regularly for assisting at births. Often, midwives in a certain city or region will have assisting arrangements with one another. ⠀ Whenever a client hires a midwife, the midwife will begin thinking about which assistant(s) she will hire for the birth. She considers distance proximity to the client’s house, needed skill sets and abilities, and which personality would be the best fit to complete the birth team. As it gets closer to the birth, the midwife will finalize arrangements with the assisting midwife, and the expecting family may be able to meet the secondary midwife before the birth, if they do not already know each other. ⠀ After identifying her assistant for the birth, the primary midwife will notify her fellow midwife whenever the client goes into labor, and continue to update her over time as to how things are progressing, usually calling the secondary midwife to come when labor is moving along closer towards delivery. ⠀ Midwives working together is built on a great deal of acquired trust and relationship-building. Midwives who work together have often gone to midwifery school together, trained under similar midwifery education programs, and often done countless births together. Ideally, they work as a smooth team, reading one another’s minds and seamlessly working together to serve the client and her family. ⠀ Midwives get together frequently to review case studies, practice emergency drills and procedures, look at medical charts together, and get acquainted with another midwife’s equipment and how her birth bags are set up. ⠀

📷: @jajhira.portraitphotography. Here are 2 midwives, Asasiya Muhammad and Ray Rachlin, doing a newborn resuscitation together. Approximately 1 out of every 10 babies born needs a little extra help getting going to begin completely breathing on their own. Whenever a baby is born, it is the first time they have breathed air and the first time their lungs have inflated. A newborn resuscitation is very different from an adult resuscitation. With an adult, you are seeking to restore a system that has previously been working, and by some accident or illness, has ceased to work. With a baby, you are helping to “jumpstart” a brand-new system that is not broken or damaged usually, but simply needs some outside help to begin working fully as it should. 💗

A well-oiled midwifery team can greatly increase how smoothly emergencies are handled. Midwives may assist one another at many births without truly being “needed”. The assisting midwife may quietly slip in as the mother is approaching delivery, take over charting for the primary midwife, hand her supplies, and be available for anything out-of-the-ordinary that pops up. But if an emergency situation does arise, the secondary midwife is already there ready to lend a helping hand, keeping things as smooth as they can be. Midwives who work together in a team bring a higher level of safety to mothers and their babies. This is an invaluable resource for families choosing to birth outside the hospital. 💗


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