Who is a Midwife – Women’s Healthcare of Illinois
Here at Women’s Healthcare we have trained Health Professionals who help you during labor, delivery and after the birth of your babies.
What is a midwife … and why should we call one?
There have been dozens of popular TV shows that take place in hospitals and clinics.
“St. Elsewhere,” “Scrubs,” “ER,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Grey’s Anatomy” … the list goes on and on.
Each of these shows feature gritty, inspirational healthcare professionals navigating precarious situations while hardly breaking a sweat. They’re calm and cool even though they’re making life-altering decisions on the fly, and they make nervous patients feel at ease. Some might even describe them as superheroes without a cape.
But those descriptions aren’t reserved for just doctors and nurses. And while “Call the Midwife” might be the only notable TV show highlighting the critical need for this third group of specialized professionals, midwives play a prominent role in today’s healthcare landscape – they just don’t get the attention they deserve.
What is a midwife?
It depends on whom you ask. The definition varies, but the theme of “providing the best care” is a constant.
There are different types of midwives, and they practice differently based on education, training, licensing, and location — hospitals, freestanding birth centers, or in a pregnant woman’s home.
In Illinois, certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice nurses (APNs) who have received a masters’ degree in midwifery. Each midwife has successfully passed a national board certification, which meets Illinois requirements to be licensed as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). In Illinois, our approach to care is family-centered and highly individualized.
Like midwives worldwide, we view obstetrics and the act of giving birth as a normal process of life. We are privileged to build long-standing relationships with the women who choose to become our patients and with their families.
We specialize in obstetrics (pregnancy, labor, and delivery), and routine gynecological care throughout a woman’s lifespan for women at low childbirth health risk. The midwifery model has an emphasis on evidence-based, patient-focused, individualized, holistic care that prioritizes physiological birth.
Many childbearing aged women are considered healthy and low-risk and therefore qualify for midwifery care. We have collaborative relationships with primary care doctors, obstetricians, gynecologists, perinatologists, and many other specialists, which means our patients always have access to the best levels of care.
A common misconception
True or false? Women who seek midwifery care want to deliver their babies at home without medication.
You’ve been paying attention, so you know that’s false. At our practice, we birth babies only in the hospital setting.
Do we have women who come to us seeking a more natural birth experience? Yes, and we always strive to support their wishes, but our patients are in a safe, supportive hospital setting and can receive epidurals or other forms of pain relief if desired.
Also, our mothers-to-be typically let us know if they prefer to not have a inductions or an operative delivery (Cesarean section or C-section), but if either or both approaches become a medical necessity, we continue to care for the needs of the mother while the specialist performs the required intervention.
A foundation of care
“Call the Midwife” was set in London in the 1950s, so you’re not going to see the modern advancements that have allowed us to be even stronger partners for the women who seek our services. But that constant theme – providing the best care – remains our foundation.
This blog is a quick overview of midwifery. If you would like more information, visit the website of our professional association, the American College of Nurse Midwives.