Living Well: 5 Myths, Debunked — Nurse midwives provide safe, in-hospital birthing experience
September 5, 2017
When you think about using a midwife for childbirth, you may shy away because you think having a midwife means you have to give birth at home. It doesn't. This is just one of many myths about nurse midwives that needs to be debunked. In fact, using a certified nurse midwife is a safe, often highly satisfying way to welcome a new baby into the world.
Myth 1: Nurse midwives are not welcome in hospitals.
Truth: Most hospitals today see it as highly desirable to have a certified nurse midwife on their team. Certified nurse midwives (CNM) usually practice in a medical setting including hospitals, birthing centers and clinics. Other types of midwives—and nurse midwives who choose to—deliver babies in the home in states where it's legal to do so. Liz Kilmer-Sterling, RN, MSN, the new certified nurse midwife with Memorial Regional Health, will provide hospital-based deliveries only.
Myth 2: Nurse-midwives are not "real" medical providers.
Truth: Certified nurse-midwives are advanced practice nurses, having earned a master's or doctoral degree, and are licensed in all 50 states. It's good to keep in mind that there are several different types of midwives. If their title does not have the word nurse in it, they have not received nursing training. If you want a midwife with strong medical training along with midwifery training, choose a certified nurse midwife. Certified nurse midwives can also provide primary healthcare for women, including wellness exams, gynecology care, birth control and prescriptions.
"Midwives spend more time with their patients, getting to know them and providing emotional support and extra education, so they have the information they need to make decisions about their care. When women are educated they feel empowered, and they tend to experience less fear and anxiety about labor and delivery," Liz Kilmer-Sterling said.
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Myth 3: Nurse-midwives won't let you use pain medicine.
Truth: Nurse midwives honor your decision about pain control and help you decide among several options, including epidurals. Certified nurse midwives are licensed, like doctors, to prescribe medication as needed.
"I partner with women throughout their pregnancies, and when it comes time for delivery, I do all I can to help her have a comfortable birth. If a woman wants a non-medicated birth, we offer alternative techniques such as position changes, sterile water injections and counter pressure, but of course, she can choose to have an epidural at any time," Kilmer-Sterling said.
Myth 4: Nurse-midwives discourage you from consulting with doctors, like OB/GYNs.
Truth: Nurse-midwives welcome the input of doctors and often work collaboratively with OB/GYNs, seeking their input when complications arise. However, nurse midwives take a more low-tech, natural approach to childbirth, and aim to avoid unnecessary medical intervention.
"Certified nurse midwives believe in a woman's ability to have a healthy, normal pregnancy, labor and birth, and we educate women so they know what to expect. That way, they can recognize when something's not right. At the same time, we do ongoing assessments to identify when things are out of the ordinary, and collaborate with doctors as needed. We pride ourselves on providing high quality care that's very hands on, high touch and low intervention," Kilmer-Sterling said.
Myth 5: If you choose a nurse midwife you'll have to pay out of pocket.
Truth: Medicaid, and most insurance companies, cover certified nurse midwife fees.
Kilmer-Sterling is welcoming new patients. To make an appointment, call 970-826-8230. Women's Health & OB/GYN is now located at The Memorial Hospital, south entrance, 750 Hospital Loop.
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