Could a Midwife be the RIGHT CAREGIVER for Your BIRTHING EXPERIENCE?

February 1, 2020 Karen Charney

Interviewed by Emily Freehling

New moms-to-be are turning to midwives in greater numbers in recent years. And midwives are making headlines.

The United Nations has declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, recently spent time watching midwives at work and praised them in a public letter.

“You are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis,” she wrote.

If you are expecting a baby in 2020, knowing your range of options for prenatal care and labor and delivery is important. At Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center (SRMC), midwives are a welcome part of the care team in our labor and delivery department.

What is a Midwife?

The term “midwife” literally means “with woman,” and that’s a great way to describe the approach midwives take to caring for women during labor and delivery. A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a caregiver who has a nursing degree and has completed graduate work in midwifery. Midwives care for women during pregnancy, labor and delivery, in addition to providing a full range of clinical women’s health care. CNMs are licensed to see patients in a doctor’s office as well as in the hospital where they can deliver your baby.

Certified Nurse Midwife Lauren Jordan said the midwifery care model puts women in charge of their birth experience.

“We see labor as a normal, natural process,” Jordan said.

That can make a big difference in a mother’s comfort level once the birthing process starts.

HOW DO MIDWIVES HELP MOMS MANAGE PAIN DURING LABOR?

Midwives are known for their “high-touch, low-tech” approach, meaning they will work with laboring mothers to find ways to manage pain such as moving around or trying different labor positions, or sitting on a birthing ball. All of these options are open to laboring moms at SRMC in our private labor and delivery rooms.

“We will encourage them move around the room or get in the tub or shower, have wireless monitoring and offer family members ways to help and be involved,” Jordan said. “We pretty much let a woman give birth in whatever position she is comfortable with.”

At Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, mothers also have the opportunity to eat during labor.

“Labor is exhausting,” Lauren Jordan explains. “If a mother doesn’t have any nutrition, she is not going to push well. They need that energy, and it’s fantastic that SRMC recognizes and supports women during this process by having snacks available.”

Midwives can also perform fetal monitoring, and at SRMC, moms can take advantage of wireless fetal monitoring to continue to have freedom of movement.

Midwives can also prescribe medication and perform other tasks in the healthcare setting.

DOES CHOOSING A MIDWIFE MEAN I HAVE TO HAVE A COMPLETELY NATURAL BIRTH?

Not at all. When you give birth at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, you have so much expertise at your disposal to ensure your birthing experience meets your wishes while also keeping you and baby safe. Midwives offer an added personal touch at our state-of-the-art, private-room facility. They can provide coaching and care to help you try to avoid interventions, if that is your wish. However, you can also have the peace of mind that a full array of physicians and an on-site Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are available if the need arises.

Jordan points out that no birth goes 100 percent according to plan, and she sees the role of midwives as helping moms make educated choices as their labor progresses. If an epidural, an induction or even a C-section becomes a necessary choice along that path, your midwife is there to help you communicate your desires to your care team, while continuing to provide personalized care and coaching throughout your hospital stay.

“A natural birth can mean different things to different people,” Jordan said. “Midwives, and the entire staff at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, support you wherever you feel you are in your birth experience.”

HOW DOES A MIDWIFE WORK WITH AN OB/GYN?

Obstetrician-Gynecologists, or OB/GYNs are physicians with medical degrees. Jordan said midwives always collaborate with OB/GYNs in the hospital setting. For a lowrisk pregnancy, the midwife might care for the patient throughout the complete birthing process.

Women with higher-risk pregnancies can still benefit from the midwifery approach to care, but they can also rest assured that a midwife will be collaborating with an OB/GYN and will work with that physician to ensure both mother and baby get the care they need.

Only OB/GYNs can perform major surgeries such as C-sections, but in the event of an emergency C-section, Jordan said, a midwife can still accompany a woman to the operating room, continue to advocate for her and care for her through recovery.

Midwives with the right training can first-assist on C-sections, she said. Communication is a key component of the care we provide at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, so every member of your labor and delivery team—your nurse, your midwife, your OB/GYN—will work together to ensure you and your baby get the best care.

Midwives and Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center Share a Goal:

Compassionate, Personalized Care

The labor and delivery experience at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center is designed with many of the mom-and-baby-centered aspects midwives emphasize in mind.

  • Our labor-and-delivery rooms have space for your partner to stay with you, and baby will be in the room by your bedside 24 hours a day if that is your wish. (Our nursery is also available when mom needs rest.)
  • Mom-and-baby bonding is a priority here. Post-birth care is done at your bedside.
  • Our method of care allows nurses and midwives to spend more time in your room when you need coaching, support or advice.
  • SRMC offers low-intervention birthing options, such as birthing balls and peanut balls. While we do not permit water births, we do have a whirlpool available for pain management during labor.

Call 1-888-685-1610 or go to spotsrmc.com/calendar to schedule a free tour of our facility and meet the team that will play a role in your birth experience.

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