Midwives have historically provided holistic care with emphasis on health promotion and preventative care. As a profession, we believe in providing education, support, and encouragement to women to prevent dis-ease states from developing.
Meaning that midwives, like naturopaths, believe in that age-old saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
For me personally, this means I believe patients should be encouraged to have a collaborative relationship with providers. A place where they feel confortable getting answers to all kinds of questions, and where they can see a provider they know and feel comfortable with, before they are in a health crisis just as much as if they are in a health crisis.
I believe that preventative visits are important.
Now, in full disclosure, it could be said that I like to think I’m radical because I believe that a woman’s preventative health visit should include easy access to compassionate, affordable reproductive care- including birth control, emergency contraception, STI testing, health counseling, breastfeeding support and menopause care.
All of which is frequently difficult to access, largely due to those practicing ‘gate keeping’ theory of women’s healthcare in which undue barriers have been erroneously erected.
But, to be honest, these ideals which I claim as my own are actually shared by the biggest women’s health groups around: American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists, American College of Nurse Midwives, American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
As it turns out, there is almost universal agreement that increasing access to reproductive and preventative health is important. Despite differing philosophies around the provision and type of care, easy access to affordable health care for women is a cornerstone of all organizations specializing in women’s health care.
And so enters into the conversation the new provisions afforded women under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Regardless of what one thinks about the ACA, in it there exists a roadmap to improved access and affordability with a focus on reproductive and preventative health with regard to the unique health care needs of women.
In that vein, I share with you some resources from the National Women’s Law Center that give a clear outline on what the ACA offers women, what the new insurance plans cover, and how to access the care you need.
I have mixed feelings about what will be the ultimate outcome of the ACA, yet I feel every woman should feel personal agency over her healthcare. I hope that whatever comes in the future of healthcare contains avenues for personal agency over reproductive health while recognizing the importance of preventative health care.