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Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

What's a nurse-midwife, and how is it different than an OB/GYN or a doula? Why should or shouldn't I use one?

Re: What's a nurse-midwife, and how is it different than an OB/GYN or a doula? Why should or shouldn't I use one?

The Bump Expert

Midwife means “with woman.” Nurse-midwives offer health care to women, focusing particularly on normal pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, family planning and routine gynecological care.We emphasize the physical, emotional and social needs of patients. Teaching is an important aspect of each patient visit -- we work hard to involve women and make them partners in their health care. We also concentrate on diet, nutrition, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We believe that pregnancy and childbirth are natural processes, and try to avoid interventions unless indicated.

Nurse-midwives have a combination of training in modern obstetrics and gynecology,midwifery (the traditional birthing practice), and nursing. Many nurse-midwives (including me) work as maternity nurses and then return to graduate school to become a nurse-midwife. This training and experience makes us especially well prepared to support women who desire natural childbirth. We support each woman’s right to a satisfying birth experience, and provide support during the labor and birth processes to achieve this goal. For some women this means pain medication, and for others this means a natural childbirth. We believe that it important to educate and to empower women through their pregnancy, childbirth and family planning experiences.

Most nurse-midwives in the United States practice within a hospital system,but some do attend births out of hospital settings. Nurse-midwives collaborate with physicians and consult on any variations from normal. If a woman in the care of a nurse-midwife experiences significant medical problems, she may be referred to a physician. Not all women are good candidates for nurse-midwifery care due to certain medical, pregnancy and gynecological conditions that are considered higher risk. It’s important to let your health care provider know your entire medical history so she can help you decide whether nurse-midwifery care is right for you.

Denise Gershwin, CNM

re: Q: What's a Nurse-Midwife?

Nurse midwives are an excellent alternative to an OB/GYN. According to one statistic I read, worldwide, midwives deliver more than two-thirds of births.

EmInTX |

re: Q: What's a Nurse-Midwife?

Nurse midwives are an AWESOME alternative to traditional births! They have lower c-section, episiotomy, mortality and pain medication use rates ! plus, they spend much more time with you during labor (ie they do cervical checks and back rubs) I could not be happier with my midwife!

Teebz5Rubicon |

re: Q: What's a nurse-midwife?

Nurse midwives can have a wide variety of practice philosophies. It is very important to interview and ask questions that will reveal what these philosophies are. Like what percentage of the mothers in your practice achieve the goal of a natural childbirth? What is your c-cection rate? If they say they don't know find another practice to interview. This can be tricky so do your home work before going to an initial consultation which is not the same as an initial appointment. No exams are necessary. If they offer an ultra sound in the first trimester with no medical indication for it that might also be a red flag. Best of luck - Jo Anne Lindberg - President & Founder BirthLink.com

bestbirth@birthlink.com |

re: Q: What's a nurse-midwife?

I am curious, I had high blood pressure during labor with my first pregnancy and I have ulcerative colitis, would I still be able to see a nurse midwife?

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Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I am seeing the midwives at UCLA and have been very happy with the care I've received thus far. From what I understand, a doula does not provide medical care. The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves". A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional & informational support to the mother before, during & after birth. A doula is not an alternative to a midwife or OB/Gyn.

vstapleton2006 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Midwives are so much more personal and an advocate for you. I feel like mine is personally involved in my pregnancy, and not just suffling me in and out of the office like most OB/Gyns. My sister is a doula...she is basically a "coach" and will be with you throughout the labor and delivery process. You would create a birth plan with her, and she would be there to see it through. If you are going a regular hospital/OB route, I would highly recommend you thinking about having a doula, as hurses can be pushy and you may end up having something that you don't want.

samcarter418 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

How do I find a nurse-midwife?

Ruthandbaby |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I think I have found her! I have an interview today and Thursday. If anyone is looking for a midwife, Google Midwife with your Zip Code and you should come up with a directory.

Ruthandbaby |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

This is my first pregnancy and I was very concerned about choosing an OB or a nurse-midwife. The biggest difference between the two seems to be that the OB gives information & makes decisions based solely on their medical background. The MW has the nursing background which already makes them more attentive through this training and gives them a background both in medicine and emotional support. The MW focuses more on going through this journey with you and providing all information necessary for YOU to make the decisions you want about your pregnancy and birthing experience. Sometimes its difficult to make certain choices but they will always allow you to make the decision without just telling what's going to happen and then they will give you all the support you need. I ended up choosing a MW and am so excited every time we go and see her. She works in a practice with other MW's and OB's so I know she has a great support staff which was important to me. I never feel like I'm just going to a check up, but feel like I get to experience my baby in a new way with a close friend. I'm already sad for when i'm not pregnant and i don't get to see her all the time!

tform |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

It's so important, whichever health care provider you choose, that you interview them. Make sure their ideas/philosophies on child bearing are similar to yours and that your a good fit. You'd do that kind of research if you were buying a TV, why not when choosing someone to follow you through your pregnancy?

tigerinthewood |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I got my midwife by luck :) I was late to an appointment and she is the only one that would see me, I fell in love instintly! She takes so much more time answers my questions, and best off all she wants me to have my baby my way! She gives me my options and help me decide what sbest for me and baby :) This is my first child but I know if I have more its going to be with her :)

BabyCakes1089 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I had my first with a midwife and she was AWESOME!!!! Now I am having my second as well - you get my attention and TLC and less medical interventions. They work with you and discuss your options every step of the way. But FYI sometimes just googleing midwives does not show you midwives in your area because by law they have to work under a doctor. Go to sites that list midwives and you may have to dig. I did and I am so happy I took the extra time and effort!!!

jensi |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

if considering a mid wife or want to know more about what they are about watch the documentary called " The Business of Being Born " Its a very eye opening documentary about both sides and precautions of midwifery vs hospitals.. It is a great movie && defiantly convinced me to go for a natural birth! I think any pregnant women should watch it!

Lsandy89 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Just watched "The Business of Being Born" as well and it totally confirmed my choice to go with a midwife! I've seen multiple doctors. nurses, & midwives at various practices for annual care previously. Th is is my first pregnancy and the decision to go with a midwife was the only path I felt comfortable with because I felt like my pregnancy & birth would be based on my decisions for my family and my comfort level, not the doctor's.

Superchelle02 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I just read "Ina May's guide to childbirth" it is an amazing book. I recommend it to any pregnant woman. Did you know that some women experience pleasure during childbirth? Of course you didn't. Because modern culture is scaring the crap out of women from an early age with dramatic scenes on tv and horror stories about birth (most horror stories happen after unnecessary medical interventions have already taken place). Your body was made to give birth. You just have to trust it. A midwife is going to know tricks to keep you comfortable while still progressing. If your body is numb with an epidural and you are laying down the whole time your body is not going to be able to progress. This is why the c section rate is so high. Believe in yourself and you will have an amazing birth experience. Especially if you have a caregiver who believes in you too.

abanana87 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

i LOVE my midwife! she is so open to my ideas and gives me any positive or negative stats about what i would like to do during my pregnancy, and my birth. i started out with an ob/gyn and felt they were nice, but didn't really listen to my concerns...they just kind of brushed things over. my midwife listens, and gives suggestions. i couldn't be any happier with my choice of switching!

michellekeene |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I'm 16 weeks and really happy with my choice to go with a Midwife. Luckily, we live on the north side of Chicago by a hospital with one of the most well-established and well-renown Nurse-Midwife groups in the state or country. OB/GYNs generally treat pregnancy as if it were a disease to be medically treated, which is why they often provide unnecessary medical interventions during labor. Unless you have complications, adverse medical conditions, etc. in your pregnancy, this is not the case. Pregnancy and labor/delivery are natural processes that women's bodies go through - trust that your body and your baby know what they're doing ... a baby being a few days late is not a medical crisis (I had a friend whose doctor had her induced because she was 6 days late and the baby was getting "much too big" --- 8 lbs., 3 oz!!! (Well within the normal range.) Of course, the induced labor was incredibly painful, the baby was in distress, she needed and epidural and then ended up with a c-section). Midwives generally do not take this approach. They support your choices, whatever they may be (epidural, other medical pain relief strategies, natural pain relief strategies, etc.) and since they're associated with a doctor and hospital, if a true medical crisis does arise, you will be cared for. Of course, it's vital to interview, do research and feel comfortable. But if you want to feel in charge or your pregnancy/delivery and feel as if your pregnancy/delivery is not a disease to be medically managed, consider a nurse-midwife.

AmyEG11 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Can anyone recommend a good midwife in the New York area? In the city to be exact?

ShanelleR22 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I just started seeing my team of midwives at 16-weeks. There is a team of 4 at the clinic, and take turns seeing you up until the birth. Two of the midwives will attend the birth of my child and be there with me throughout the process. In addition to the excellent post-partum services they provide, the fact that they encourage you to do what you WANT to do and whay YOU are comfortable with, really reassures me that I will have the birth that I want.

raynathompson |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I live in Europe where midwifery is a big thing, and many hospitals here allow you to bring your midwife with to the birth. They also counsel you before and after baby is born, do housekeeping the first few weeks and help with nursing and couples issues up to a year after your child is born. If you have an uncomplicated birth, you often don't even need to have the doctor in the room with you, making it a much more familial and female experience. In Austria, where I life, infant mortality rates are actually quite a bit lower than in the states, which they attribute to midwifery and a focus on preventative health. If you can find a good midwife you trust, I really recommend investing in her- especially for a first birth!

chandarae |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Today you can get an online nursing bachelors degree. If you think that will help with your pregnancy time, go ahead and explore this field. Good luck!! Hope you find my advice useful.

annasiegfried |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Different philosophies. I'm so glad I switched to a midwife. She's way more personal and puts me at ease. I'm no longer a number.

bb205802 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I'm glad that there still are many top nursing programs. I benefited from a lot of help from my mother, but now she had to go nursing my father, who is very sick. I consider requiring the services of a nurse-midwife and this article helps me a lot.

TawnyCollyn |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

Without an ultrasound, is there any way a midwife will be able to give me an idea whether or not I'm carrying twins?

MamaRose81 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

You should definitely ask for help a nurse midwife because they know a lot of things and can help you out in any situation that could put your child`s life at risk. There are also psychiatric nurses, they provide the most direct care to the patients and can aid you after delivery by explaining how to control certain emotions.

amyabel68 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I LOVE my midwife - there are 3 at m OBGYN practice and I won't go back to traditional doctors unless I have to.

Superchelle02 |

Q&A: What's a nurse-midwife?

I'm pregnant for the first time and seeing a midwife and having a home birth. My best friend is a midwife and has opened my eyes or changed my outlook on giving birth. As women we have been having baby's on our own or without a high degree of intervention. If you have a normal pregnancy why not let your body and instincts do the work. Many here are right, the incidence of c-section and other complications are far less in midwife assisted births. It's crazy to me how many women do not know what we are naturally built to do. When I tell my friends my birth plan, they think I'm crazy....I think they are crazy for questioning my choice to have a safe and healthy birth!

HRCmadison |