Editor’s Corner: What Does Ideal Prenatal Care Look Like?

Midwifery Today, Issue 148, Winter 2023
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This issue on prenatal care is technically Jan’s last and, at the same time, it’s my first. I’m learning how the magazine has been put together in the past, while knowing that I will be changing things in the future. Isn’t that similar to what prenatal care is all about?

It’s about taking the time to learn about the mother giving birth and who is supporting her. It’s about noticing the small things and building on the bigger ones. I’m often fond of saying I believe in the additive model of nutrition: What can we add into your diet to help balance and give better nutrients? If we are putting in better things, we make less room for those things that are best in moderation or left behind. That’s what I believe is going on as we move into this new season of Midwifery Today. We are trying to put enough care in to provide trust and determine what needs to be changed for a healthier future.

Prenatal care is an important topic for our clients. It can consist of clinical steps, emotional steps, covering from past traumas, or health issues. It’s recognizing health issues that are occurring in front of us. Because of the many aspects that define prenatal care, it can be difficult. Should there be 12 visits on a specific obstetric visit schedule? Or is there evidence that we need fewer or greater amounts of appointments? I’ve always wondered about that process and, in my own practice, I allow for some wobble on that. For clients who come in late, do we need to provide more care in order to develop a better understanding of one another? These are all questions I would love to answer in future articles.

I was fascinated during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic about how many providers began using telehealth for interviews and appointments, and how some didn’t even meet their clients in real life until 36 weeks. There were articles coming out about whether we should schedule 15-minute appointments or 30-minute appointments. Do we learn everything we need to know with this method? How do these online and predetermined appointment times affect what we traditionally called care? Can we even study that? I would love for others to explore these issues in the future and write about them.

Prenatal care is ultimately about ensuring that we recognize changes that need to be made, whether in nutrition or provider or birth location, and address them quickly and with professionalism, supporting our clients in a way that lets them feel respected and treated appropriately for the level of care they need and desire.

I look forward to reading through these articles as a whole, considering what the next issue of Midwifery Today will look like, and exploring it all through the eyes of midwives. I hope you find support for the creative care that you are giving and the needs you are meeting in these pages.

Always learning,


About Author: Shannon Mitchell

Shannon Mitchell is a wife, mother, and grandmother who also serves as a midwife in Washington state. She originally fell in love with history and research but felt her life’s purpose shift as she experienced her first birth as a cesarean surgery followed by three VBAC in hospitals and a birth center. She has served in the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and several other midwifery and birth-based organizations and feels that autonomy, choice, and education should be primary to all experiences of birth.

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