Midwives seeing increased demand as mothers fear going to hospitals

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — The covid-19 pandemic is causing some local moms-to-be to change their birthing plans at the last minute.

Family Birth and Wellness, a midwifery birthing center in Southwest Missouri, says they’ve had a lot more pregnant women wanting to use a midwife or give birth at their facility — as opposed to a traditional hospital setting.

Normally, the center sees a woman from the beginning of her pregnancy.

But lately, they say a lot of moms have changed their minds far into their pregnancy — seeking out a midwife only a month or so before they give birth.

Many hospitals have to place restrictions on visitors because of the coronavirus.

So some moms are scared that their partner or family won’t be able to be in the room with them while they’re in labor.

Others also feel that using a midwife at home or in a birthing center puts them at a lower risk for contracting covid-19.

Mary Walsh, Certified Professional Midwife, CEO Family Birth & Wellness, said, “And so if we had a mom who tested positive or had suspicious symptoms we would have to transfer them to the hospital and they wouldn’t be laboring in a birth center. So they feel like it’s just a lower risk of picking something up coming to the birth center that’s only taking care of healthy people, verses the hospital where there’s where people who are sick are going.”

Walsh encourages any mom considering a switch in birthing plan to educate herself first.

She says it is a very personal decision, and there are pros and cons to both hospital and midwife births.

Midwives at family birth and wellness can’t perform c-sections, and do not administer epidural.

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