Health Care Public Health

6 Things You Might Not Know About Midwifery Care

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For women, our healthcare journeys can be a winding road with lots of natural and unexpected health changes. From well-woman care and prevention to family planning, conception, pregnancy, delivery, postpartum and even breast health — there’s one thing that can stay consistent: our patients’ active decision-making in their own healthcare.

And that’s the very focus of our certified nurse midwives.

Many people assume that midwives only deliver babies via home birth. But that’s far from the truth. In fact, nurse midwives are highly trained and credentialed to provide comprehensive care for life.

Let’s debunk some common misconceptions with the truth about nurse midwives.

1. Nurse Midwives Are Different Than Doulas

A doula can help a person throughout their pregnancy, labor and birth, but more as an emotional support coach. Doulas are not medical care providers.

A nurse midwife is a clinically trained nurse who receives further training and certification to provide medical care through the entire life from well-checkups to pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.

2. Nurse Midwives Provide In-Hospital Labor and Delivery Care

Another common misconception is that nurse midwives only deliver babies through home birth. While there are midwives that do support home births, all our UChicago Medicine AdventHealth nurse midwives are licensed as advanced practice nurses and certified nationally to practice. We do all our deliveries in a hospital setting and collaborate with our OB/GYN physicians on high-risk cases. Most midwives in the United States are similarly hospital-based.

3. Nurse Midwives Encourage Women to Make Their Own Pain Management Choices

Your midwife is your partner through your labor and delivery journey. We support you in whatever decision you make with our utmost priority being the safety of you and your baby. That relationship is the same whether you choose to give birth with or without an epidural.

4. Nurse Midwives Provide the Full Spectrum of Women’s Care

It’s common for people to think that nurse midwives only deliver babies. Realistically, a big and important part of a nurse midwife’s care is annual and ongoing well-woman care. During these visits, you and your midwife can talk about anything that’s important to your health at your age, life stage and health status.

Your care plan with a midwife can include birth control consultations, well-woman visits, breast concerns, pelvic pain, menstrual cycle issues, STI screenings, lifestyle, nutrition and even referral for alternative modalities outside of Western medicine, like massage or acupuncture.

5. Midwives Provide Whole-Person Healthcare for Your Body, Mind and Spirit

UChicago Medicine AdventHealth nurse midwives are specially focused on helping patients thrive with a holistic approach to whole health in body, mind and spirit. Midwives promote patient autonomy and being involved in their own care decisions, helping women understand how their body is working, how and why it’s changing, and how they can live well and experience life to the fullest. Because of this comprehensive, whole-person approach, nurse midwife visits can be a little longer compared to traditional OB/GYN appointments.

6. Nurse Midwives Have a Positive Working Relationship With OB/GYN Physicians

Our nurse midwives maintain a very collaborative and positive working team culture between other nurses and the OB/GYN physicians. We all work closely with nurses and patients to promote a vaginal delivery when it’s safe and considered the best choice for the patient. This includes movements to help the baby rotate, counterpressure and even alternative modalities like essential oils and birthing balls to get out of the traditional mold of being stuck in bed to labor.

For women with high-risk pregnancies, our midwives collaborate with physicians. We are trained and equipped to do the first line of care, even if high-risk, and refer or collaborate when needed. In pregnancy, this can be multiple births or a chronic health condition. In nonpregnant individuals, it could be a condition like fibroids or menstrual problems.

Your midwife is your partner on your healthcare journey, whether that’s prevention, pregnancy care or overall wellness.

Megan Belleavia, CNM, is a midwife with her office at 908 N. Elm St., Suite 303 in Hinsdale. She believes in shared decision making with her patients and applying up-to-date evidence-based care. Call 630-920-1347 to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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