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Why you should add a nurse midwife to your birth team


March 10, 2017

From the moment you decide to try to conceive, you’ll need to start looking for a practitioner to care for you throughout your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. 

For a growing number of women in the United States, the answer is a certified nurse midwife.

Expectant mothers giving birth at Soin Medical Center have the option to include a midwife as part of their care plan, thanks to the addition of Certified Nurse Midwives Andrea Carr and Darla Baker at Kettering Physician Network Advanced Women’s Healthcare in Beavercreek.

What is a nurse midwife?

The certified nurse midwives have a master's degree in nursing or midwifery and a national certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board.

“We are nurse practitioners who have specialty training in obstetrics and gynecology,” said Carr. “We support the normalcy of puberty, menopause, pregnancy and childbirth.”

Full-scope care

Midwives have been supporting women through the birth process for centuries. Over time, the role of the midwife has grown beyond assisting with childbirth, evolving into more comprehensive care for women. 

For the first time in many years, patients are able to choose Kettering Health Network certified nurse midwives for full-scope OB/GYN care, including attending births.

Both Carr and Baker provide full obstetric and gynecologic care for women, from puberty through menopause, including well-woman gynecologic care; problem visits; annual screenings; family planning consultations and contraception; and pregnancy and birth care. Baker and Carr have privileges at Soin Medical Center, where they can provide natural birth experiences, as well as pharmacologic pain management. They do not attend home births or births at other area hospitals.

Why choose a nurse midwife?

“I believe women like the idea of working with a midwife because we provide patient-centered care. ‘Midwifery’ means ‘with woman,’ and we are here to support women, provide education, and encourage women to be active participants in their healthcare,” said Carr.

While many women seek midwifery care because they desire a low intervention or a natural childbirth, nurse midwives are able to provide pain medications or an epidural at the laboring mother’s request.

Does a certified nurse midwife mean no doctor is involved?

Physicians, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists work together as a team to provide the best possible care for patients.

“Our patients will see one of the doctors initially for a pregnancy confirmation visit, if necessary, and at least one time during their pregnancy,” explained Carr. “If a pregnancy becomes more complicated, they may see the physicians more frequently.”

While nurse midwives are highly trained to respond to many different emergency situations, in the event that a cesarean delivery is needed, a collaborating physician would perform the surgery quickly.

“As a nurse midwife, I will assist the physician in the surgery or be available in the operating room as support for our patients. Soin Medical Center has a board-certified obstetrician in the hospital 24 hours a day,” said Carr.

How you can learn more

In an effort to educate and address common misconceptions that exist about midwifery, Kettering Health Network is hosting a “Consider a Midwife” event on Wednesday, March 29, starting at 5 p.m. at Soin Medical Center. This is a free event, but space is limited. Click here to register now.