Whether planning for your baby’s birth or looking for an alternative for routine care, you may consider using a midwife*. A certified nurse midwife works with women throughout their reproductive years and beyond — providing care tailored to suit individual needs.
*Not all Baptist Health locations offer midwifery.
What Is Midwifery?
A midwife is a trained health professional who gives care and support to women during the labor and delivery process, as well as providing help after the birth. It is common for midwives to deliver babies at birthing centers or at home, however, midwives can also deliver babies at a hospital. A midwife may be preferred when little medical intervention is desired, and only if there are not pregnancy complications involved.
If you are seeking a healthcare experience that’s truly personalized and minimizes medical intervention, midwifery may be the answer. A certified nurse midwife practices under a philosophy of care that focuses on:
- Empowering women to actively participate in their healthcare
- Supporting women’s health needs throughout their lives
- Building ongoing relationships with patients
- Minimizing unnecessary intervention
While caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth is their focus, many certified nurse midwives also provide comprehensive women’s services. They offer family planning, gynecological exams, and management of menopausal symptoms.
Benefits of Seeing a Midwife
There are several benefits to meeting with a midwife. These certified healthcare professionals offer unique services and a quality of care to expecting mothers. Specific benefits include:
- Decreased risk of needing a cesarean section
- Decreased instances of induction and augmentation
- Reduced infant mortality rates
- Reduced use or need for regional anesthesia
- Decreased risk of premature birth
- Less instances of 3rd and 4th degree perineal tears
- Lower costs for patients and insurance companies
Why Choose to See a Midwife?
Selecting the right healthcare provider throughout every stage of life — including before, during, and after a pregnancy — is one of the most important decisions you make. If you decide to see a midwife at Baptist Health during your pregnancy, you can expect:
Expertise: All of the nurse midwives who see patients at Baptist Health are certified in midwifery and are registered nurses (RNs). They have completed graduate-level training in midwifery and passed a national certification exam.
- Collaboration between doctors and midwives: Nurse midwives and doctors work together to care for you and your baby. The midwife philosophy relies on more natural approaches. Midwives traditionally help women through labor and delivery without medication, but they also work closely with the obstetrical (OB) team. If your pregnancy or childbirth situation requires more medical intervention, such as an emergency C-section, your midwife will remain at your side.
- Personalized care for mom and baby: Midwives want each patient’s childbirth experience to be exactly as she imagined. Your midwife will support you at every point during labor and delivery. And she will work with you to customize your experience as much as possible.
Midwife services provide an alternative form of care and support during the labor and delivery process, as well as provide services after delivery. Depending on what the parent(s) chooses, a midwife may deliver the baby at a birthing center, at a home, or at a hospital.
In addition to helping with labor and delivery, certified nurse midwives provide comprehensive women’s services. These services include gynecological exams, family planning, and management of menopausal symptoms. If you are looking for personalized care that requires limited medical intervention, finding a midwife may be a preferred option.
Certified nurse midwives provide a full spectrum of women’s health services, including:
- Gynecological exams: Midwives perform basic annual exams and tests, such as Pap smears, when needed.
- Family planning: If you need assistance with family planning decisions, including contraception, a midwife can help.
- Prenatal care: Midwives view an uncomplicated pregnancy as a normal part of a woman’s life cycle. They provide the prenatal care you need to ensure that your pregnancy is healthy.
- Labor and delivery support: Your midwife will be at your side during the birth of your baby, supporting you in whatever way you need. If your birth becomes complicated, your midwife will work closely with your obstetrician to keep you and your baby safe.
- Newborn care: After your delivery, your midwife will assist you in caring for your baby, educating you on safe practices before bringing your newborn home.
- Lactation support: Midwives provide you with education and support to help you successfully breastfeed your baby.