What makes a good midwife?

(67 Posts)
Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 17:59:47

I am a mother and a midwife. I'd like to know what makes a good midwife so I can make improvements and always be a good one. I know I can trust you all to be honest. Much love and gratitude to you all. My children are now grown and are amazing, sensitive, accomplished souls & contributing wonderful things to the planet (if I say so myself). Their father wasn't around so I know without a doubt that it was the sisterhood of motherhood that got us through. So thank you.

Crawling Wed 02-Mar-11 18:15:17

What made my second MW good was she read me, she didnt go by what most women want. She picked up on what I wanted, that during birth I dont like to be touched or faffed and left me in privacy, saying if I wanted her to stay I just had to ask. She also during later cc got on the floor on all fours to check babies heartrate rather than making me move. She explained everything to me she let me lead when it got to pushing she didnt tell me where to go but to find a position I liked which happend to be on my back but with a 2 minute pushing stage it was ob not a problem.

I am sure as you are asking you will be a great MW smile

dikkertjedap Wed 02-Mar-11 18:37:57

Knowing when to get an obstetrician/paediatrician involved in a timely manner rather than first trying by herself/midwife only. Basically working together with other professionals.

FutureNannyOgg Wed 02-Mar-11 19:31:19

Empathy, and respecting the woman's perception of things as her reality.

ginmakesitallok Wed 02-Mar-11 19:38:25

Probably easier to say what makes a bad midwife! My midwife for DD1 was fabulous - she had a wonderful sense of humour which kept me really relaxed, and was so calm and controlled about everything I knew I was in safe hands.

With DD2 the first midwife I had annoyed the hell out of me because she didn't seem to believe I was in labour and kept me in the assessment room asking me constantly to describe the pain - twat. Only got into the delivery room half an hour before DD2 arrived. I'd planned a water birth, when I asked what had happened to it I was told "well, you should have come in earlier" - I'd been in the bloody assessment room for an hour!

Diamondback Wed 02-Mar-11 19:52:23

My midwives were great: friendly, sympathetic, explained everything to me and - most importantly - got me the epidural as soon as I asked for it!

mrsravelstein Wed 02-Mar-11 19:56:15

the midwives i've particularly liked for my 3dc have all been very down to earth, physically large/strong (very reassuring somehow), decisive, and without fluttering around me just seemed to know when a hug and a 'you're doing really well' would help.

SarahScot Wed 02-Mar-11 20:18:23

Someone who knows where the fine line between supporting someone through without an epidural and letting someone have the epidural they are begging for is. I.e. someone who can read people and has very good social skills.

When I had DS I was begging and begging for an epidural, I knew how much pain I was in, I knew I couldn't handle it, I have very traumatic mmemories of DS's birth. Stupid smug midwive kept commenting 'I bet your glad you didn't get that epidural now' once it was all over. Errr, NO! angry
I totally get that some people panic and ask for an epidural in transition, and perhaps some people ARE glad they didn't get one, but after me crying and begging for so many hours how could she not 'get it'?

ohmeohmy Wed 02-Mar-11 20:30:31

one that acknowledges while it is another day at work for you this baby will only be born one time- make it the best experience you can. Believe that women's bodies were made to birth, asking for consent is not the same as saying 'I'm just going to do x, ok?' discuss options properly 'we could do A, or B or nothing and the implications of each and allow people to make proper decisions, guide partners in what they can do rather than make them feel useless, do your research on pushing and let women go with their own urges, be compassionate and caring, be the guardian of safety rather than the controller of the birth... and thanks for asking!

trixie123 Wed 02-Mar-11 20:32:42

the midwife that was with me for most of the time I was on a synto drip spent more time with her back to me writing notes than looking at me, talking to me or suggesting ways to make it less painful. I think a good one talks to their mum to be and really tries to establish a rapport - not easy but would make a real difference. Also, some acknowledgment that THEY might do this day in day out but WE don't and to us it is not routine or boring or tiresome or an infringement on their day if we need / want something. sorry, rant over. Just the fact that you are asking makes you fab! Do you work in Herts?

Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 20:35:26

Heartfelt thanks. We only get feedback if things go well or if things go badly. I think I somehow need to get this info out to other midwives because the needs and desires of a woman who is going through one of the most awesome and challenging events of her entire life are complex and differ widely. But we can still discern that individual need if we know the woman and truly are 'with' them. Somehow the birth model in the UK needs to really acknowledge the need for the woman and the midwife to KNOW each other or that the midwife is exceptionally skilled in empathy so she can quickly discern the woman's needs, and her partners. Easier if we work on the midwife and the family build a relationship through pregnancy, I feel. Ramblin on.....

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 02-Mar-11 20:47:46

How lovely of you to ask, you sound like a really compassionate midwife.

I have had a really good midwife for my 2nd labour and birth and what made her special and therfore my experience as best as it could be was her confidence in me, her reassuring tone, the way she never said 'no' to any demand but put it in a way that made me feel like I was being listened to and her expereince. It showed.

Giving birth is such a vulnerable time and you are at the mercy of another person completely. You need to have a good rapport and have total trust in the person who is delivering your baby. A positive person who respects a womans wishes and guides her gently through the labour.

Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 20:49:24

ohmeohmy!! I looooooove that list. In ya face and to the point!!!! Brilliant x x

eaglewings Wed 02-Mar-11 20:58:43

Both my midwives were quiet people who let me get on with labour, but were there when I needed them. They gave me the feeling they respected me and my special time.

They both gave thought to how the room was, turning down lights etc.

They encouraged me to be mobile and didn't want to keep monitoring me or the baby, they had a confidence that rubbed of on my dh and me.

They were both experienced in water births and gave me confidence in that.

I would say that the first one didn't call in the Dr at the first sign of trouble (as I found out later) but helped me by being encouraging rather than saying what was possibly going wrong. It meant that I was able to stay in the water and give birth there rather than made to lie on the bed which would have slowed things down.

Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 21:00:32

So compassion, knowledge, humility, discernment, a sense of humour, friendliness, teamwork, respect.............

Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 21:01:57

trust, the ability to be quiet, encouraging.............

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 02-Mar-11 21:10:53

So all in all the perfect human being! No pressure then!

DonaLucia Wed 02-Mar-11 21:48:33

I would say that a good midwife,is the one that is sensitive, puts herself in the mothers position,and help around her needs,with attention,and respect.
I had Wonderful smidwifes,but the one that touched me most, was one lady that came to me anda said..U see i have a daughter of your age(21), and she treated me like i was her daughter,asked me if i was confortable,said many things that made me feel even more relaxed that i was,the las one ,that delivered my son,was totally focused on me, she turned of the lights and me and my partner slept until i was fully dilate, and she also gave me power to carry on, when i asked for another top up of epidural, saying if u have it now, it will take longer to finish,please just push(my sons legs were kicking my ribs,what a pain) and 20 min after it was finish,no stiches,no pain,apart from the kicks..and i still remember how amazing se was to me.

DonaLucia Wed 02-Mar-11 21:49:27

sorry the grammar..

EmptyCrispPackets Wed 02-Mar-11 22:31:14

As a Midwife, it is really nice to hear these things also so thanks to the OP for starting thread.

Freedomchick Wed 02-Mar-11 23:11:56

DonaLucia, Your message came across to me perfectly. I got goose bumps. She met your needs, respected you, heard you and it sounds like you trusted her AND you birthed your baby and had no stitches and no pain afterwards. Perfect.

DonaLucia Wed 02-Mar-11 23:33:11

yes ,it was just amazing,it so amazing that i still keep thinking..because i already went back to size 8..DID I REALLY HAVE THIS BABE?
LOL

ohmeohmy Thu 03-Mar-11 07:15:21

didn't mean to sound in ya face! just reeling things off. Just the fact that you are contemplating these things will make you a better midwife.

Xeen Thu 03-Mar-11 11:09:28

A good midwife is someone who genuinely cares about her role with the mother to be. Someone who recognises that even if she is having a bad day, she mustn't let the woman in her care be affected by it - it could literally scar her!

She should be knowledgeable and willingly share that knowledge with an interested mother. It's unnerving that I have had to educate my midwife on the UK standard for resuscitating babies (with the assistance of a fantastic midwife who lives outside of my area - thanks, Freedomchick!!). In an emergency, I'd like to know that my baby would receive the standard care without me first of all having to know it so that I can tell my midwife how to do it shock

She must not patronise a woman who understands that she is built to carry and give birth to her babies. Instead, she should support the mother through the process and enable her (remind her how) to give birth the way she was designed to.

It would be a bonus if she was brave enough to ask (after the birth, etc) how she did and how she can improve for other mothers.

A tall order! But I think it's a combination of good communication skills, professionalism and being caring. Enthusiasm for the role will positively affect the mother to be.

Thanks for asking Freedomchick. You are destined for greatness!!

Abcinthia Thu 03-Mar-11 11:45:54

The midwife I liked the most was my Teenage Pregnancy Specialist. She was so kind, caring and really explained everything. I remember when she went on holiday and I had a regular midwife and she was so awful. Making really horrible comments about how I was so "young", throwing my life away, benefit scrounging and asked me if I even knew who my baby's father was. When I said I knew who my fathered my baby and we were still together she said, "oh sure" in a very sarcastic way. There was also one health visitor I saw who also made some disgusting comments like that but I complained and never saw her again, thank God.

The midwives I had when I was in labour were lovely as well. They kept me entertained by joking around, held my hand while DP rushed to the hospital and one of them stayed on after her shift ended just to give me continual care - I was so touched at her doing that, I burst into tears lol. Even though I had a fast labour, they explained everything that was going on and were so apologetic about not being able to give me any painkillers because of it. They tried to make me as comfortable as possible in other ways.

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