Today, expectant mothers have more options when it comes to their care during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. While many rely on the services of an obstetrician, a growing number are choosing a nurse midwife to meet their needs.
Nurse midwives are advanced nurse practitioners (APRNs) who provide care to women from adolescence through menopause. Pregnant women, provide care during prenatal visits, attend the birth, and provide care after the baby is born. Nurse midwives focus on holistic and individualized care for childbirth and reproductive care and act as primary care providers.
Specializing in both childbirth and women’s reproductive health, nurse midwives provide care similar to that of an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN)to women as young as adolescents and those well into their menopausal years. Their primary focus, however, is providing care for pregnant women during their prenatal visits, while giving birth, and after their babies are born.
So, what specifically does a nurse midwife do? Let’s take a closer look.
Common Tasks and Duties of a Nurse Midwife
- Confirming and dating a pregnancy
- Providing both prenatal and postpartum care
- Performing exam
- Ordering diagnostic testing and lab work
- Prescribing medications
- Performing preventive health screenings
- Diagnosing and treating gynecological disorders that might affect a pregnancy (such as sexually transmitted diseases or infertility)
- Monitoring mother and fetus during labor
- Assessing the progress of labor
- Managing any pregnancy complications
- Assisting with pain management
- Preparing the patient for the birthing process
- Performing episiotomies if necessary
- Delivering the newborn
In terms of postpartum care, nurse midwives are just as involved, providing education on infant care for new parents and supporting new mothers who intend to breastfeed with education and training.
Like an OB/GYN, nurse midwives are highly trained medical professionals who must first obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), then pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam before completing a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP), and applying and testing for certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
The Benefits of Choosing a Nurse Midwife
A growing number of women are choosing to use a nurse midwife, because it provides them with more options for their birth plan and gives them more control over their birthing experience, such as where the baby is delivered and what type of drug interventions their comfortable using. Also, using a nurse midwife affords a better chance of having a natural birth. In fact, studies have found that babies delivered with the support of a midwife often have higher birth weights and a lower risk of preterm birth.
During labor, your nurse midwife is by your side, guiding you through delivery and providing options for pain management that can reduce your need for intervention drugs or even cesarean birth. If medical intervention is needed at any time during your pregnancy or labor, your nurse-midwife will provide a medical team for your special care.
Once your baby is born, your nurse-midwife will still be there to support you, offering breastfeeding guidance and monitoring your well-being into the postpartum period.
Nurse Midwives in Wooster, Ohio
The obstetrics unit at Wooster Community Hospital, the Women’s Pavilion, offers exceptional, personalized maternity care for women, including our team of highly trained and experienced certified nurse midwives who can provide exceptional service throughout your pregnancy and beyond.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Lindsay Collins recently joined the provider team at Wooster Community Hospital, where she works to deliver the expertise and special individualized care you require to make the birth of your baby a cherished and memorable experience.
For more information, call us at (330) 263-8144, and we will direct you to the appropriate department or contact person.