Call the Midwife 

Midwives have been assisting pregnancies and births for centuries. But what exactly is a nurse-midwife, and what do they do? 

“Most women seek out a midwife because they are interested in a low-intervention approach to pregnancy and birth,” says Rebecca Ailstock, a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) with TriHealth. “For women who are in good health and have uncomplicated pregnancies, CNMs offer supportive, family-centered, evidence-based care with minimal intervention.”   

This individualized care is a big plus, especially during pregnancy, when so many experiences are new and there are so many questions. “We allow significant time for questions, and this helps to build autonomy and self-assurance for women during what can be one of the scariest times of their life.” 

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about Certified Nurse-Midwife care. 

Do midwives do more than deliver babies? 

Yes. Although nurse-midwives are known primarily for pregnancy and childbirth care, they also offer health care for women throughout their lives, including care for adolescents, contraception, family planning, menopause, annual exams and post-menopausal care.  

If I use a midwife, can I get an epidural? 

Yes. Midwives encourage women to develop their individual birth plan, which could be a birth with only non-medical pain management techniques or a plan that includes pain medication, including epidural or IV pain medication. 

Can midwives write prescriptions? 

Yes. Midwives can prescribe medications and have full prescriptive authority regulated by the state in which they practice.    

Do midwives perform home births? 

While a limited number of midwives will perform home births, most attended by nurse-midwives occur in a hospital setting. 

Are midwives certified by the government? 

Yes. Nurse-midwives receive national certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Nurse-midwives have national, state and hospital approved standards to be able to practice midwifery. Nurse-midwives have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as a master’s degree with a specialty in midwifery. 

Can I have a water birth with my midwife? 

Some nurse-midwives do offer water birth in some settings, but TriHealth nurse-midwives offer water for comfort during labor, with the birth occurring outside the water. Water is most beneficial for women to help cope with the pain of labor and to shorten the end stage of labor.  

Will my midwives stay with me throughout my labor? 

Continuous presence during the labor period is a hallmark of midwifery, along with intermittent monitoring 

Will my midwife perform a C-section if complications arise? 

If complications arise during pregnancy or during a delivery, an ob-gyn physician or maternal-fetal medicine specialist will be called in to perform a C-section, if necessary. Nurse-midwives at Bethesda North and Good Samaritan Hospitals always have a physician in the hospital available to perform emergency C-sections. However, your nurse-midwife will stay with you through delivery to offer emotional support and provide care during the postpartum period. 

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


From our Sponsors