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Midwifery Care

A Holistic Approach to Pregnancy Care

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are women’s health providers with advanced education and training in midwifery and advanced practice nursing. The midwifery model of care is a holistic approach which emphasizes women-centered care. CNMs educate their patients, advocate for each woman’s individual health goals and wishes, and build lasting relationships with their patients. CNMs manage many of the primary care needs of women from the early teen years throughout a woman’s childbearing years and into menopause.

If you choose midwifery care for your pregnancy and delivery, your midwives will provide your prenatal care and attend your birth at the hospital. The majority of women will not need to see a physician during their pregnancy/birth if they are seeing midwives, unless a complication occurs.

Services We Provide

Certified Nurse Midwives care for women and their babies during pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. In addition, CNMs provide routine care for women through all phases of their life. Our services include:

  • Personalized care tailored to a woman’s health goals and needs
  • Emotional and physical support during labor and birth
  • Individualized guidance and education regarding care of yourself and your baby
  • Breastfeeding support and lactation counseling
  • Women’s health and gynecological care
  • Family planning

Pregnancies with higher risk may benefit from consultation or care from an obstetrician or maternal fetal medicine (high risk pregnancy) specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions About Midwifery

There are three different types of midwives: community midwives (sometimes known as “lay” midwives), certified professional midwives (CPM) and certified nurse midwives (CNM). The training and education requirements are different for each type, and they practice in a variety of settings. All of the midwives at SSM Health are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM).

Certified Nurse Midwives have a degree in nursing and have gone on to continue their education through either a Master’s or Doctoral program specializing in midwifery. CNMs have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program and passed a national certification board exam. Certified Nurse Midwives have a state license to practice midwifery and can practice in hospitals, birth centers, medical offices, and clinics. CNMs provide general women’s healthcare throughout the lifespan, care for women during labor and birth, and prescribe medications and birth control.

Midwives provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period. CNMs also provide general health services, annual check-ups, menopause care, and treatment for common infections and health problems. Over 10% of the moms giving birth in the United States deliver with a Certified Nurse Midwife (and these numbers are growing!). Most of these births are in a hospital. Some certified nurse midwives offer home birth, however, SSM Health midwives only attend hospital births.

Midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal life events. They are experts in knowing the difference between normal changes that occur and symptoms that require extra attention. Midwives specialize in providing support and education, in addition to traditional health care. They use evidence-based medicine to diagnose and treat when there is a specific concern for the health of you or your baby. Our midwives offer health care that respects the goals and choices of each individual woman and family.

Certified nurse midwives prescribe medicine, order tests, and provide treatment for common symptoms or illnesses that may arise during pregnancy. Midwives at SSM Health work closely with SSM Health physicians who specialize in complications of pregnancy. If you have a medical problem during pregnancy or complication during labor that requires specialty care, your midwife will work closely with a physician to make sure you get the best and safest care for you and baby. Midwives do not perform surgery. If you need to have a cesarean birth, the surgery will be performed by an SSM Health physician. Your midwife will also work with other health care and support providers to help you get the care you need: nurses, social workers, nutritionists, doulas, childbirth educators, physical therapists, and other specialists.

Your midwife will respect and support whatever decisions you make about how you are going to cope with your labor. Midwives are skilled in providing labor support to help women through contractions and labor pain. Our CNMs will provide hands-on labor support and can incorporate a variety of labor support tools including massage and pressure-point techniques, aromatherapy, warm compresses, and warm water immersion in the labor tubs. SSM Health offers several options for women desiring pain control during labor including IV pain medication, nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas), and epidurals.

No. Doulas provide physical and emotional support for women and their families during pregnancies, labor, and birth and are wonderful at this. Midwives provide emotional support, as well, but are also your medical providers. Some women choose to have a doula and a midwife, and our CNMs are always happy to work with doulas.

Yes! Midwives are happy to help you get through labor how you desire.

No. SSM Health labor and delivery nurses provide exceptional care to women and their families, and women receiving care by a midwife will also have a nurse. Your nurse and midwife will partner to provide you with the best care possible. Your midwife will provide the delivery services.

No. If you choose midwifery care for your pregnancy and delivery, your midwives will provide your prenatal care and attend your birth at the hospital. The majority of women will not need to see a physician during their pregnancy/birth if they are seeing midwives. If a complication occurs during pregnancy and/or delivery, your midwives will work very closely with SSM Health physicians to determine whether a consultation or transfer of care is needed.

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