Midwifery is a health care profession where providers are experts in women’s reproductive health. They give prenatal care to expecting mothers, attend the birth of the infant, and provide postpartum care to the mother and her infant. Practitioners of midwifery are known as midwives, a term used in reference to both women and men (the etymology of midwife is mid = with and wif = woman).
Midwives are autonomous practitioners who are specialists in normal pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum. They generally strive to help women have a healthy pregnancy and natural birth experience. Midwives are also primary care givers providing general women’s health care. Midwives are trained to recognize and deal with deviations from the norm. Obstetricians, in contrast, are specialists in illness related to childbearing and in surgery. The two professions can be complementary but often are at odds because obstetricians are taught to “actively manage” labor, while midwives are taught not to intervene unless necessary.
Midwives refer to obstetricians when a woman requires care beyond her or his areas of expertise. In many jurisdictions, these professions work together to provide care to childbearing women. In others, only the midwife is available to provide care. Midwives are trained to handle certain situations that are considered abnormal, including breech birth and posterior position, using non-invasive techniques. In many areas of the world, traditional midwives, renamed “traditional birth attendants” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups, are the only available providers for childbearing women.
In the 1700s obstetricians were referred to as male midwives and once treated patients for female hysteria.
According to the International Confederation of Midwives (a definition that has also been adopted by the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics):
A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational program that is duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery. The educational program may be an apprenticeship, a formal university program, or a combination. The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the infant. This care includes preventive measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, accessing of medical or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures. The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and childcare. A midwife may practice in any setting including in the home, the community, hospitals, clinics or health units.
This definition is controversial and not everyone agrees with the exclusion of traditional midwives who in developing countries often are the only people available to assist women in birth.
Finding a midwife in Hawai`i is usually done by word of mouth
There is also the Midwives Alliance of Hawai`i: http://www.midwiveshawaii.com/ which gives a list of midwives on every island except for Kaua`i and Moloka`i. Also the Pacific Birth Collective is another wonderful resource: www.pacificbirthcollective.org.
Midwifery will disappear if the majority of women no longer use midwives, support them and choose to have a midwife for your maternity care.
May 5th is International Midwives Day and this year there was a silent march/sign waving at the State Capitol to honor them, here is the story: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880505033
Here are Hospitals with Midwives:
Tripler Army Medical Center-
Kaiser Hospital Moanalua-
Castle Medical Center –
On the Big Island there is the Hawai`i Community Hospital:
*Remember that talking with a few midwives would be a good idea as it would be best to find a care provider no matter it be a OB/GYN or midwife that fits your needs and desires. This is your birth, please know your options.
List of midwives on O`ahu:
Linda Chong Tim
TAMC (Tripler) CNM’s:
Castle Medical Center:
O`ahu Homebirth Midwives:
Selena Green; Hale Kealaula – Phone: 415-505-4906; Email: mamaselena.midwife.com; Website: http://www.halekealaula.com
Dr Lori Kimata; Sacred Healing Arts – Phone: 808-949-4938; Website: http://sacredhealingarts.info/
Vanessa Jensen – Phone: 809-754-6122 http://www.littlelightmidwifery.com; VanessaCPMWaldorf.com
Home Birth Kaua`i: http://www.homebirthkauai.com/
Hawai`i Island Midwives:
Darby Partner CPM 808-313-2428; http://www.unfoldinglotus.com
Amy Kirbow; CPM homebirth midwife in Kona, Hawaii. 808-797-3422 http://konabirth.gomidwife.com/
Roxanne Estes; Home Birth Midwife on Big island 808-936-4068. Roxanne Estes, CNM.
Sky Connelly: ManaMidwifery.wordpress.com