Thinking about choosing a midwife? These moms share their experiences

According to doula Chrissie Smith-Schuler, “midwife-led care is based on the ethos that pregnancy and birth are normal life events and if your pregnancy is low-risk then birthing with a midwife could be a great option.” As we recently acknowledged International Day of the Midwife (5 May), we thought we’d shine the spotlight on these supportive and empowering service providers by encouraging our community members to share their experiences.

Leigh Van Eck: I had an amazing experience! We had to induce because labour didn’t progress after my waters broke. My midwife was great at guiding the decision-making process and keeping me calm when things weren’t going the way I had hoped. I still had a wonderful active labour and water birth with my husband by my side. Our midwife was so supportive without being intrusive and gave me the space to do my thing. It was a truly amazing, empowering experience and I am so grateful.

Gwendalene de Meillon-Nel: I had a VBAC a few weeks ago with a midwife and a doula. It was a really awesome experience and I would do it again and again. I get all mushy thinking about it. I am just so happy!

Woman with newborn after a water birth
Gwendalene de Meillon-Nel in a birthing pool with her baby. Image supplied.

Rochél Nkosi: It was a life-changing decision for us. I had a C-section in 2016 with a not-so-pro-natural gynae and gave birth to our little girl naturally with a midwife last year. It was such a healing experience, with hands down the best care during pregnancy, labour and afterwards.

Megan Sandler: I used a midwife with my second birth a couple of weeks ago and I will never do a hospital birth again if I can help it. I was allowed to do what came naturally to my body, with zero interventions throughout the labour – and dare I say the pain was a hundred times more manageable because I wasn’t being hassled about my “progress” every five minutes. Even my husband loved this birth because he was able to be so involved. He actually said that we should do a home birth if we have a third child, with just a midwife and a birthing pool – this from the guy who was so against a non-hospital birth to begin with! In short, a million times YES to a midwife birth!

Gerda Kriek: I’ve had three natural, unmedicated births, all with midwives. I highly recommend it.

Enita Pedro: I had my second birth with a midwife. It was an amazing experience! Not only was it such a restorative birth, but I could do exactly what my body needed, with constant reassurances about how well I was doing.

Parents holding their newborn at home birth
Enita Pedro and her husband with their newborn baby. Image supplied.

Rochél Nkosi: It was a life-changing decision for us. I had a C-section in 2016 with a not-so-pro-natural gynae and gave birth to our little girl naturally with a midwife last year. It was such a healing experience, with hands down the best care during pregnancy, labour and afterwards.

“I honestly felt that with a midwife-led birth I was empowered and well-informed.”

Robyn Cronjé: I had a midwife for my second birth. We only found out while I was pushing that she was posterior. I am convinced that had we gone another route it, I would have ended up having a C-section. They wouldn’t have allowed me the necessary time to deliver her naturally.

Woman giving birth with help from midwives
Robyn Cronjé being coached through birth by a midwife. Image supplied.

Debbie Van der Westhuizen: I’ve birthed my twins with a midwife at a birthing centre. It was an amazing water birth three years ago – no NICU, no complications. The only problem I had was that I only found out after the birth about my RhoGAM shot (an injection with antibodies called immunoglobulin) and it was too late to get it. I am Rh-negative and my husband positive, but my twins and I were fine.

Martie van der Riet: I had an amazing birth. My midwife would not support me as my baby was breech and I did not want to have a C-section if it wasn’t life-threatening. I then decided to do a free (unassisted) birth and my baby was born complete breech without any issues.

Mom holding newborn after an unassisted birth
Martie van der Riet with her baby after an unassisted birth. Image supplied.

Tarryn Walton: I think midwives are kind, compassionate and patient, and they provide care that honours and respects and celebrates a woman’s natural ability to give birth without unnecessary interference. I have given birth with midwives in the UK and worked alongside them here in SA. I highly recommend it.

Mom kissing her newborn baby on the forehead.
Tarryn Walton kissing her newborn baby. Image supplied.

Staycy Naidu: Last year I had my first natural, unmedicated birth with a midwife and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Catia Meireles Pereira: I have had two midwife birth, one in hospital and one at home. I loved giving birth!

Mom giving birth to baby in pool
Catia Meireles Pereira giving birth in a water pool. Image supplied.

Georgina Mary Myles: I had a great experience with a midwife-led birth. I went for my gynae appointments but my midwife consultations throughout my pregnancy felt much more informative and supportive. They were more in-depth and more focused on my emotional well-being as well as mental preparation for birth. I felt supported in my decisions and was given the information I feel I would’ve otherwise overlooked or taken for granted. I honestly felt that with a midwife-led birth I was empowered and well-informed. My husband was also very involved and guided by the midwife. The support in the days after my daughter was born was amazing, too.

Naomi Mitchell: I have had four hospital births (one C-section and three VBACS) and then a further three midwife-led VBACs. I will never again give birth at a hospital for a healthy pregnancy with a healthy baby. The difference was pretty significant.

Happy parents with newborn after water birth
Naomi Mitchell and her husband after a midwife-led water birth. Image supplied.

Angelique McFarlane: I had a VBAC at home with the most amazing midwife. It was an incredible experience and I cannot compare it to the hospital at all. Midwives are focused on you, the birth and your baby.

Note: These comments are the thoughts and experiences of different moms and are for anecdotal purposes only. We respect the rights of moms to choose the birthing option that best suits their preferences, as well as the health and well-being of them and their babies.