The word midwife dates from the 14th century from the Old English mid, meaning with, and wif, meaning woman.
The midwives see women regularly throughout their pregnancies not only for routine prenatal care, physical exams, appropriate screening and diagnostic tests, and but also to provide the essential teaching and support women and their families may need in anticipation of the birth of their baby. Many women will have the opportunity to see the same midwife throughout their prenatal care.
Midwifery care during labor and birth
Women who are seen by the Brigham Midwifery Group for prenatal care come to Brigham and Women's Hospital for care from the midwives during labor and birth. During the process of labor, our practice's midwives look after mother and baby's health and provide emotional and physical support. The midwives respect each woman's wishes and plans for labor and birth within the realm of safety. In case of complications, the midwives consult and collaborate with the Harvard Medical School attending physicians and chief residents.
Postpartum care is provided both in hospital during the short stay following the birth of the baby and also in the patient's primary health center setting in the weeks and months after birth. The midwives check on women's physical health, review their birth stories, assist with breastfeeding, provide emotional support, and initiate discussions about contraception.
The midwives provide prescriptions and teaching regarding various forms of contraception including: oral contraceptives, Depo-Provera, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs, Nexplanon, spermicides, and introductory teaching about natural family planning.
Annual gynecological care
The annual visit includes physical exam with pelvic exam and Pap smear, screening for infections, teaching regarding self-breast exam, nutrition, and smoking cessation, offering HIV testing, and discussion and provision of contraception, if desired.