Community Midwives of Kingston

What about drugs and technology?

Prenatally and during labour and birth, midwives follow best practice and provide evidence based care which results in low rates of intervention. This type of care generally avoids the routine use of drugs and technology. 

Midwives are able to prescribe medications when indicated.  For example, a midwife may prescribe an antibiotic to treat a urinary tract infection in pregnancy.  

During labour and delivery, midwives suggest position changes, hydrotherapy, hands on comfort measures and provide emotional support to reduce the need for pain-relieving drugs.  Should a woman choose to use pharmacological forms of pain relief, a midwife will discuss her options (nitrous oxide, morphine or an epidural) and maintain care.  As well, midwives use the gold standard in fetal surveillance in labour, intermittent auscultation, which involves listening to the fetal heart rate with a doppler device or a fetascope.  There is a large body of evidence which indicates routine use of continous electronic fetal monitoring leads to an increase in interventions including cesarean section.

Although the use of technology and drugs is sometimes necessary and is always open to midwifery clients when needed or chosen, women who plan to use interventions and technology routinely may find medical care a more appropriate choice. The emphasis in midwifery care is on birth as a normal physiologic process and an important life event, as well as supporting women to make informed choices.