November 20, 2009

The other night I attended a seminar with the purpose of introducing the community to the new Certified Nurse Midwife that will be working at the Clarian Arnett Hospital. This will be the first CNM to work at a hospital in our area. What an amazing breakthrough! Welcome, Sharon Smith, CNM! My hope is that the demand for care from a Midwife will rise, and the hospital will hire more. Our community is in dire need of some change and improvement upon prenatal and childbirth care. Like I have said before, our choices until now have been fairly black and white.

The evening started with a dinner. I sat at a table with a friend, and a few very nice women I had just met. One was a NICU nurse, another a Lactation Consultant, and the other a Doula. The conversation was great! Following the dinner, Sharon began her talk, starting with a brief history of Midwifery. One thing she pointed out was the meaning of Midwife: ‘with woman’. She went over her credentials and where she got her education. She received her Masters of Science in nursing in Nurse-Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. She has over 10 years experience working with women during pregnancy and childbirth and other life transitions.

The next portion of her talk was focused on what services she will offer to the community. They are as follows:

Routine Obstetrics
Support for Natural Childbirth
Health Education and Preventative Care
Preconception Care
Family Planning
Routine Gynecology

With these services the patient will be introduced to a more individualized and higher level of care. A Midwife’s philosophy is to focus on prevention and education. This would mean more of a collaborative relationship between her and the patient. She will offer advice for staying healthy by paying attention to nutrition and exercise. Concerning pregnancy and childbirth, the woman is encouraged to participate more in decision making. The Midwife will work with the mother to keep her pregnancy low-risk and give her the opportunity to decide how she would like to bring her child into the world. A Midwife’s view of pregnancy and birth is that it is a normal process. All of this means more time spent with mom. I love this. The small amount of time I spent with my previous OB always seemed oddly short. After my experience with a Midwife, I was immediately drawn to her model of care.

So, if you choose to use a Midwife for your child’s birth, and your goal is for a natural birth, she will work with you to try and avoid any unnecessary interventions while laboring. A Midwife is quick to try all other options before it comes down to using an intervention such as an epidural, an episiotomy, or a vacuum. This does not mean if you decide to use some sort of labor augmentation that she won’t support you. The choices you make for your birth are still in your hands, and the Midwife will stick with you throughout the course of labor and birth. She will also remain with you for postpartum care. She will stay to assure you and baby are doing well and breastfeeding (if that is the plan) has been initiated.

Overall, I feel the that the support you get when using a Midwife is tremendous. You get the education and preparation you need to fulfill your plans for pregnancy and birth. And you get a care provider that listens and supports you in your decisions for your family.


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