6/26/02 - Midwife Boom

These days, more women are choosing midwives. In fact, midwife births have almost doubled over the past decade. It's an option some Heartland women are choosing.

A midwife in Carbondale says right now, she's seeing twice as many patients than she was at this time last year. Patients who prefer a more natural childbirth and want a midwife as their primary caregiver, instead of a doctor.

Certified nurse midwife Elenie Smith says, "What we try to do is make it exactly what the woman wants or as close to possible to what women want." Smith has been a midwife for six years. 18-year-old Sheena Adams is just one of 45 patients she and another midwife sees. "Many woman prefer a non intervention approach," Smith says. " They like the philosophy of midwives that midwives feel a woman's body is designed to give birth and if you leave things alone, 98 percent of the time there are no complications."

Smith says a lot of her patients are like Sheena. They like that a woman is taking care of them during their pregnancy, delivery, and after they have the baby. Like all midwifery patients in the Heartland, Sheena goes to her appointments in an office, and will deliver her baby in a hospital.  Sheena didn't start out her pregnancy with a midwife.  She went to a doctor first, but decided she wanted more one on one interaction. "They talk to you more like a person than a doctor. I like Lenie, she acts like she really cares," Sheena says.

If there are any complications in a woman's pregnancy, midwives call a doctor to help. Smith says midwives go through two years of special training on top of nursing school. The cost of going to a midwife is about the same as going to a doctor.