The Role of a Midwife
Women and families turn to a midwife for more options in maternity and health care.
Women who choose midwives usually want very little medical intervention and are not high risk for complications during their pregnancy. Some choose widwifery for a more personalized, intimate option — tapping into the emotional, practical, and social support that midwives provide.
Cassie Applegate, Certified Nurse Midwife and owner of Apple Tree Midwifery, says, “The difference when choosing a nurse midwife is that we tend to have the luxury of having longer appointment times, so we can really spend time getting to know our families and doing a lot of preventative education and helping those women prepare for birth and taking care of a brand new baby.”
A midwife is a trained health professional assisting woman throughout pregnancy, during labor, delivery, and after the birth of their babies. They keep the same schedule of appointments with labs and ultrasounds as a medical provider. Clients work with a midwife to plan a birth outside a conventional medical setting. Midwives may deliver babies at birthing centers or at home and hospitals.
Applegate says, “Women choose to have a midwife just for the hands-on approach. It’s basically having a labor and delivery nurse care provider and your baby’s care provider and a support person all rolled up into one person.”
Cassie’s client, Sarah Hills, stepped in line with what her mother did and had a home birth with her first child. She is choosing a midwife again, as she is due next month with her second child.
Hills chose Apple Tree Midwifery “To help me make the decisions for myself and not just say ‘this is what happens this is what’s normal so this is what you do.’ And I really appreciated that, and that was so comforting to know that I had help, I had somebody who knew what they were doing, but ultimately let me do what I needed to do in order to get through it.”
There are a variety of different midwifes. A nurse midwife, like Cassie, is a care provider during pregnancy and birth but also can help with a woman’s general health. Cassie says she hopes to one day see a birthing center in the area to give women more choices and authority over their birthing experience — as that is best aspect of her profession.
Applegate says, “My favorite part is to just really see women become empowered in the pregnancy and their birth, to see them go from the beginning of their pregnancy all the way through to having a natural birth in their home and then successful breast-feeding as well. It’s just such an amazing experience to see them go through all of that — succeed and to feel really empowered to become the mom that they are now and see that relationship and bonding with their new baby too — it’s just magical.”
Cassie takes clients all over the Black Hills. Right now, she is the only home-birth midwife on the western side of the state.