Midwifery – BirthCare Health Care
For many women, a nurse midwife is the perfect choice for their pregnancy or gynecological care. A nurse midwife is a registered nurse who receives extra training from an accredited midwifery program and becomes board certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives. Nurse midwives can provide a full range of primary health care services for women and families.
What Is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare practitioners educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. They provide primary health care to women of childbearing age, including prenatal care, labor and delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, newborn care, assistance with family planning decisions, preconception care, menopausal management, and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention. CNMs attend over 10 percent of the births in the United States. Ninety-six percent of these births are in hospitals. The philosophy of nurse-midwifery care "focuses on the needs of the individual and family for physical care, emotional, and social support and active involvement of significant others according to cultural values and personal preferences.”
Midwives listen to women and provide the information you need to make informed and educated decisions about your health care.
CNMs must graduate from an accredited education program and pass a rigorous certification exam. Because of the high standards established for education and certification, CNMs are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They attend continuing education programs offered by hospitals, universities, and ACNM.
Certified Nurse-Midwives Provide Quality Care
According to a 2009 Cochrane meta-analysis of studies* (12,276 women) looking at midwife-led care versus care by an obstetrician or family physician, midwifery care was found to have as good or better outcomes in every parameter. Under midwife care women had less need for anesthesia, episiotomies, instrumental birth (such as forceps or vacuum). Furthermore women had increased feelings of control in labor, likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, and successful breastfeeding. The researchers have found over and over that midwife-led care is associated with several benefits for mothers and babies and had no identified adverse effects.
*Hatem M, Sandall J, Devane D, Soltani H, Gates S. Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4.
For pregnancy care, services offered include the following:
- Pregnancy care and delivery
- Full information about tests
- Suggestions on healthy lifestyle and good nutrition
- Personalized labor support
- Effective approaches to pain relief
- Attention to your birth plan
- Postpartum care
- Breast feeding assistance
Gynecologic and primary care services offered include the following:
- Annual pelvic and breast examinations
- Pre-marital exams
- Pap tests
- Screening & treatment for sti’s
- Family planning/birth control
- Preconception counseling
- Acute care for common problems
- Menopause care
- Hormone replacement therapy
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