Midwifery 101

Christina Graham, Certified Nurse Midwife

If you had told me when I was growing up that I would be a Nurse-Midwife, I wouldn’t have believed you.  But now, after practicing midwifery for 6 years, I can’t imagine doing anything else.  When people find out you are a midwife there is a certain look that you get.  And then you inevitably get a plethora of similar questions.  Even amongst those in the medical community there isn’t a good knowledge of what a nurse midwife is or what exactly we do.  So here’s a rundown of the most common things I get asked about when people learn what I do for a living.

1.) Why are there so many kinds of midwives? 

The entry into the field of midwifery can vary. A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) (like the ones that practice at Methodist Hospital with HealthNet) all have nursing degrees and then continue their education by getting a masters degree specializing in nurse-midwifery.  They are licensed by the State of Indiana and can write prescriptions.  They are regulated by the American College of Nurse Midwives.  For more information about CNMs click here.

A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.  If you’d like to read more about CPMs visit http://narm.org.

A lay midwife may not have any formal education.  Instead they are educated through an apprenticeship model of learning.

2.) What? You have a male midwife in your practice? 

Contrary to popular belief, a male midwife is NOT called a ‘midhusband.’  While the presence of men in obstetrics and gynecology has traditionally been accepted in the role of physician, midwifery does still remain female dominated.   In the United States approximately 0.6% of midwives are men.  Additionally, 90% of midwives are white females.  We are fortunate in our practice here at HealthNet to have a wonderful male midwife!  He brings a much-needed balance to our female dominated practice.  If you’d like to read more about the evolution of males in midwifery a very interesting article can be found here.

3.)  You do more than deliver babies? 

Certified Nurse Midwives are considered experts on normal, well woman care from the time that women start menstruating through menopause.  We perform annual well woman exams, pap smears, and birth control consults, and address common gynecological issues.  This is all in addition to being able to take care of pregnant women from the time of conception through delivery!  At Methodist Hospital we are fortunate to collaborate with physicians who love working with CNMs and are available to us whenever a problem or need may arise.   For more about what CNMs can do click here.

All deliveries by a HealthNet midwife take place at Methodist Hospital’s Maternity Center. We do not offer home births. All HealthNet midwives are registered nurses with additional education in midwifery and national certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board. For more information about our midwifery program, click here or call us at (317) 957-2000. 

 

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