What is a certified nurse-midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a licensed healthcare practitioner educated in nursing and midwifery. Midwives provide quality medical care with a personal touch by helping patients become a stronger advocate for their own health.
TriHealth offers midwifery care through two practice locations including TriHealth Nurse Midwives with deliveries at Good Samaritan Hospital and TriHealth Women’s Services Midwife Care with deliveries at Bethesda North Hospital. Nurse midwife care has shown excellent clinical outcomes, including increased birth weights and reduced infant mortality, as well as high patient satisfaction scores.
Paulette Schalck MSN, CNM, clinical director of TriHealth Nurse Midwives discusses the advantages of using a midwife.
#1: Midwives provide guidance during preconception
Remaining healthy during pregnancy is extremely important, although many women may not think about the importance of their health prior to becoming pregnant. Guidance during preconception might include:
- Helping women improve healthy habits before getting pregnant. For example: Introducing an approved exercise routine and opting for nutritious whole foods instead of processed or fast foods.
- Helping women stop bad habits before getting pregnant. For example: Now may be the best time to quit smoking.
- Working with future moms and their partner to develop a personalized birthing plan.
#2: Nurse-midwives offer support during pregnancy
It is very important to consider who will support you during your pregnancy. For first-time-mothers especially, understanding what to expect can make your pregnancy much less stressful. Advantages of having a midwife for support throughout your pregnancy might include:
- Ensuring more face-to-face time between the midwife and mother-to-be to talk about concerns and needs.
- Recommending patient education. For example: Your midwife may recommend a Centering program where women can gain group support and education, and be a part of conversations that empower women to better understand their physical and emotional journeys through pregnancy and motherhood.
- Having a choice for alternative birthing opportunities. For example: Your midwife can discuss and help determine the best labor and delivery services for you, like walking, showering, or using a tub for labor
#3: Midwives are actively present through the birth
Bringing new life into the world is a tremendously touching experience. Unfortunately for many parents and families, labor and delivery of a new baby is scary and stressful. By using a certified nurse-midwife during this time however, you may receive additional care, with things like:
- In-person support for you and your family throughout the entire labor process.
- A variety of options for pain relief during labor, including an epidural if requested.
- Recommendations for position changes. For example: Walking and certain positions may aid in the delivery process.
#4: Midwives also provide follow-up care
Nurse Midwives can help their patients determine the best plan of action while promoting lifelong care - before, during and even after a mother delivers her child. Options for follow-up care can include:
- Support for mothers who may choose to pursue breastfeeding. For example: Midwifes can provide postpartum care, as well as refer nursing mothers to lactation consultants if needed.
- Guidance about newborn care issues. For example: A certified nurse-midwife can assess the overall health of your baby, and even offer advice for newborn care.