At Columbus Women’s Care, we’re with you every step of the way down your path to having a child. From confirmation of your pregnancy to prenatal care to delivery and post-partum, we’re a partner you can count upon for expert care and, maybe, a few timely tips to help you get through the difficult times.
Since some of our patients are a little fuzzy on just what role a midwife plays in delivery, so here’s some information.
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a trained health professional who helps healthy women during labor, deliver, and after delivery. While some midwives deliver babies at birth centers, at home, or at the hospital, our Columbus Women’s Care nurse-midwives deliver babies at our three area hospitals. Our midwives are all certified nurse-midwives (CNMs).
What do midwives do?
Your midwife is involved throughout your pregnancy and after delivery. Here are some of her functions:
- Provide family planning and preconception care
- Monitor your physical and psychological well-being
- Help you make birth plans
- Conduct prenatal exams and order other tests
- Advise you on diet, exercise, medications, and other aspects of a healthy pregnancy
- Educate you on what to expect through the entire process
- Provide you with emotional and practical support during labor
- Deliver your baby
Types of Midwives
Midwives have different classifications based on the level of training:
- Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) — CNMs are registered nurses who have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program and have passed a national exam. CNMs can practice in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Certified midwives (CMs) — CMs have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a health field, but are not registered nurses. Certified Midwives must have completed an accredited midwifery education programs and passed a national exam. CMs are limited to where they can practice by state law.
- Certified professional midwives (CPMs) — CPMs have training and clinical experience in childbirth, including childbirth outside of a hospital. They have also passed a national exam. Like CMs, some states don’t permit CPMs to practice.
Midwives vs Doctors: What’s The Difference?
Midwives used to provide the only assistance to women in labor. That role faded with the changes brought to the process by modern medicine. But at Columbus Women’s Care, we love our midwives because they allow us to provide truly well-rounded care to our well-rounded pregnant mothers and their babies. Midwives play a crucial role in the process for our pregnant patients, including reproductive care, labor support, post-natal care, and lactation assistance.
But many people don’t quite understand where the role of a doctor and a midwife diverge. Here are four main differences between doctors and midwives. These reasons, among others, are why we believe strongly in the OB/GYN + nurse-midwife combination at Columbus Women’s Care.
Training and education are the main difference. An OB/GYN has completed four years of formal medical school, four years of a medical residency that involves surgical training, and an additional three years in a residency specific to obstetrics and gynecology. Midwifery training is focused solely on women’s reproductive care, providing prenatal care to the mother and her baby, as well as providing post-natal care and breastfeeding support. All of our midwives at Columbus Women’s Care are registered nurses that have added the training to become certified nurse-midwives.
Focus of care
Doctors are focused on the medical management of a safe, healthy pregnancy and birth. Midwives are wholly mother and child focused. There have been times where these two areas of focus were somewhat at odds, but that has changed. At Columbus Women’s Care, we combine the support of our midwives with the medical expertise of our OB/GYNs for the best overall outcomes.
Healthy pregnancy or high-risk pregnancy
High-risk pregnancies require an OB/GYN to manage the pregnancy for the safety of the mother and the baby, and to use all available means to achieve the best outcome. In these pregnancies, our midwives still have a vital role providing emotional support for the mother.
The OB/GYN is often attending to more than one woman at a time during the labor process, and is dividing her time between different patients. The nurse-midwife from Columbus Women’s Care works with the mother exclusively from the time her labor truly starts all the way through delivery. This provides a level of comfort and security to the mother that has real value, as statistics show that women who have a midwife are less likely to need epidurals, pain medication, labor induction, and other medical interventions.
How does your midwife work with the pregnancy team?
Our nurse-midwives work in combination with our OB/GYNs. Unlike independent midwives, at Columbus Women’s Care, our nurse midwives are on staff. This allows us to combine both the mother-child centered focus of the midwife with the medical management focus of the OB/GYNs. Here these roles overlap to provide a unique level of care for our patients.
What are the birth settings for Columbus Women’s Center midwives?
Because of the available care and facilities, should they be needed, our OB/GYNs and nurse-midwives perform deliveries at these hospitals:
- Mount Carmel East
- Grant Medical Center
- Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital
Childbirth Delivery Options
An easy birth with predictable phases is ideal. But even the best laid childbirth plans can take different courses, so it’s good to have an idea of what different delivery methods could be necessary.
Most women give birth at around 38-41 weeks of pregnancy. Vaginal delivery is preferred because of these benefits:
- Shorter hospital stays
- Lower infection rates
- Quicker recovery
- Vaginally born babies have lower risk of respiratory problems
Since all plans can sometimes have detours, other delivery methods could be necessary. A Cesarean section is delivery of the baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. These are events that could dictate a C-section delivery:
- Multiple babies (twins, etc.)
- A very large baby
- Previous surgery, such as a C-section
- Baby is in breech (bottom first) or transverse (sideways) position
- Placenta previa (placenta is low and is covering the cervix)
- Fibroid or other obstruction
Vaginal birth after Cesarian
Changes in surgical techniques sometimes allow a vaginal birth.
A vacuum extraction is sometimes done during the course of vaginal childbirth. A cup with a handle and a vacuum pump it applied to the baby’s head to help guide it out of the birth canal.
Sometimes forceps are needed in the course of a vaginal delivery. Forceps, shaped like a pair of large spoons, are applied to the baby’s head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning about some alternative birthing options, contact us today. Call us at (614) 755-4200 to schedule a consultation.