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For women, a health care journey can be a winding road with a lot of natural and unexpected health changes. From well-woman care and prevention to family planning, conception, pregnancy, delivery, post-partum and even breast health — there’s one thing that can remain consistent: a woman’s active decision-making in her health care.
And that is the very focus of certified nurse midwives.
While many people assume that midwives only deliver babies via home birth, this is far from the truth. In fact, nurse midwives are highly trained and credentialed to provide comprehensive women’s care for life.
We’re sharing more about the scope of midwifery care and debunking some common misconceptions.
1. Nurse Midwives Are Different Than Doulas
Many people think that nurse midwives and doulas are the same thing, but this isn’t true.
A doula can help many women through her pregnancy, labor and birth, but more as an emotional support coach. While doulas are certainly a great asset to women, they are not medical care providers.
A nurse midwife, on the other hand, is a clinically trained nurse who receives further training and certification to provide medical care through a woman’s entire life from well-checkups to pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.
2. Nurse Midwives Provide In-Hospital Labor and Delivery Care
Another common misconception is that nurse midwives only deliver babies through home birth.
While there are midwives that do home births, many are licensed midwives or direct entry midwives and not nurse midwives. At AdventHealth, all of our nurse midwives are licensed as advanced practice nurses and certified nationally to practice. We do all of our deliveries in the hospital setting and collaborate with our OB/GYN physicians on high-risk cases.
3. Nurse Midwives Support Women to Make Their Own Pain Management Choices
Some may think that selecting a nurse midwife for labor and delivery means that you must have a natural birth without an epidural or other means of pain management. This is far from the truth.
Your midwife is your partner through your labor and delivery journey. We support you in whatever decision you make, of course with our utmost priority being the safety of you and your baby. That relationship is the same no matter what pain management choices you decide are best for you.
4. Nurse Midwives Provide the Full Spectrum of Women’s Care
It’s common for people to think that nurse midwives only deliver babies, but in reality, a big and important part of a nurse midwife’s care is annual and ongoing well-women care.
During those visits, you and your midwife can talk about anything that’s important to your health at that age and stage of life and health. This can be preconception, lifestyle, nutrition, and even modalities outside of western medicine like massage.
While practiced under the midwifery model of evidence-based care and shared decision making, some of the additional services that midwives provide include:
- Birth control consultations
- IUD selection and placement
- Well-woman visits
- Visits to address pelvic pain and menstrual cycle issues
- STI screenings
- Breast exams
Patients have the option to see midwives to get their care journey started with assessments, testing and lab work, collaborating with physicians if more specialized care is needed.
5. Midwives Provide Whole-Health Women’s Care for the Body, Mind and Spirit
Nurse midwives, especially those at AdventHealth, are particularly focused on helping women thrive with a holistic approach to complete health in body, mind and spirit.
At any stage, education is an essential part of midwifery care. Midwives promote patient autonomy and being involved in their own care decisions, helping women understand how their body is working, how and why it’s changing, and how they can work to have the best life and experiences possible.
Because of this approach, nurse midwife visits can be a little longer compared to traditional OB/GYN appointments.
6. Nurse Midwives Have a Positive Working Relationship With OB/GYN Physicians
Our nurse midwives have a very collaborative and positive working team culture between other nurses and the OB/GYN physicians.
They all work closely with nurses and patients to promote a vaginal delivery when safe and the best choice for the patient.
This includes helping the laboring woman move in different positions to help the baby rotate, and even modalities like essential oils and birthing balls to get out of the traditional mold of being stuck in the bed to labor.
For women with high-risk pregnancies, our midwives collaborate with physicians. They are trained and equipped to do essentially the first line of care, even if high risk. In pregnancy this could be multiples or a chronic condition like diabetes, or non-pregnant woman with a condition like fibroids or menstrual problems.
A Calling to Serve You
Our midwives chose their profession as a way of dedicating themselves to the education and care of women. They are your partner on your healthcare journey, whether that’s prevention, pregnancy care or overall wellness.
Learn more about our midwifery care and book an appointment to discover all of the ways a midwife can care for you throughout your lifetime.