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All About Midwives, with Melissa Cheyney

The Birthful Podcast: Episode #262

(Renewed! Originally #178)

Today is all about midwives! What is midwifery care? What are the different types of midwives? Are they all certified? Where do they provide care? Are they only for when you are having a baby? Do they do the same things as OB’s? What are the advantages of OBs, perinatologists, and midwives working together? Missy Cheyney has answers. Check it out.


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What we talked about:

  • What is the midwifery model of care?
  • How does it compare to the medical management model of care?
  • Other types of care providers: obstetricians and perinatologists
  • How does each one view and approach birth?
  • Collaborations between different providers
  • Brief history of midwifery
  • Different types of midwives and accreditations
  • Midwives: not just at home
  • What to consider when looking for a midwife?
  • What happens during a home-to-hospital transfer?
  • “Transfer a complication, not an emergency”
  • The importance of continuity of care and transfer protocols
  • Midwives: not just for delivering babies
  • Right-sizing maternity care: neither too much too soon, nor too little too late
  • Improving outcomes through interprofessional care


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Helpful resources & links*:


  • Link to download the other research papers Missy mentioned, including:
    • Perspectives on risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States
    • Development and Validation of a National Data Registry for Midwife-Led Births: The Midwives Alliance of North America – Statistics Project 2.0 Dataset
    • Homebirth Transfers in the United States: Narratives of Risk, Fear, and Mutual Accommodation
    • Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital: Improving Interprofessional Collaboration
    • Planned Home VBAC in the United States, 2004–2009: Outcomes, Maternity Care Practices, and Implications for Shared Decision Making
    • Rural community birth: Maternal and neonatal outcomes for planned community births among rural women in the United States, 2004-2009


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Courtesy of Melissa Cheyney
About Dr. Melissa “Missy” Cheyney

Melissa Cheyney PhD CPM LDM is Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Anthropology at Oregon State University (OSU) with additional appointments in Global Health and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is also a Licensed Midwife in active practice, and the Chair of the Division of Research for the Midwives Alliance of North America where she directs the MANA Statistics Project. Dr. Cheyney currently directs the International Reproductive Health Laboratory at Oregon State University where she serves as the primary investigator more than 20 maternal and infant health-related research projects in nine countries. She is the author of an ethnography entitled Born at Home (2010, Wadsworth Press) along with dozens of peer-reviewed articles that examine the cultural beliefs and clinical outcomes associated with midwife-led birth at home in the United States. Dr. Cheyney is an award-winning teacher, and in 2014 was given Oregon State University’s prestigious Scholarship Impact Award for her work in the International Reproductive Health Laboratory and with the MANA Statistics Project. She is the mother of a daughter born at home on International Day of the Midwife in 2009.

Missy’s profile on Oregon State University’s Anthropology department.



*May contain affiliate links. This means that -at no extra cost to you- I may get a small percentage of what you buy. That is one of the ways of helping me continue to do this podcast – Thank you!

Like the music on the podcast?:

Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).


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