1.           What does a midwife do?

Nurse-midwives provide primary health care for women who desire an individual approach to their care. Midwifery care includes prenatal care, labor & delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, newborn care, family planning and birth control options, preconception care, menopausal management, and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention. With a nurse-midwife, a woman is listened to, educated, and encouraged to take an active role in the decisions and options available to her. Midwives provide an expertise in normal pregnancy, birth, postpartum and well women gynecology. All nurse-midwives in California practice with a collaborating physician and will consult, collaborate or refer when questions or problems arise.

2.           Why see a nurse-midwife?

Nurse-midwifery care is woman-centered and based on the philosophy that health care should be safe and satisfying. CNMs are committed to promoting self-determination, the right to obtain complete information about the care and enhancing the normal process of pregnancy and birth through education and supportive intervention. While CNMs are qualified to administer drugs, perform medical procedures and provide their clients with other technological interventions, they rely on technology only when medically necessary. As a result, women under the care of a CNM are less likely to have a c-section or an episiotomy and are more likely to experience a vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC).

3.           Must I have natural childbirth if I choose a nurse-midwife?

No. Nurse-midwifery philosophy supports a woman's choice in the management of pain in childbirth. Women who desire a natural childbirth are attracted to midwifery care because midwives provide support during labor. That support, which is both physical and emotional, enables women to be more likely to achieve a natural birth. But, not all women want natural childbirth. Depending on the birth site (home versus hospital) anesthesia or pain medication are used by nurse-midwives and would be available to women in their care. Ask your nurse-midwife about the options available at her birth site.

4.           What makes a nurse-midwife different from an obstetrician?

Nurse-midwives are educated in two professions-midwifery and nursing. Midwifery philosophy is based on supporting and educating the individual woman and her family throughout her healthcare (pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, well women gynecology) by helping her determine what choices are best in her unique situation. Midwives follow the same standards of care outlined by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. However, a hallmark of midwifery is the humanistic and non-interventional approach to health care. Midwives support the normal, healthy life cycles women go through, while at the same time have access to medical interventions if that is needed.

5.           Is midwifery covered by health insurance?

Most major insurance carriers cover midwifery services.


***If your question was not answered here, please to 'ask a midwife'***