What is a Nurse-Midwife?
A Nurse-Midwife (NM) is a health care professional educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery to care for healthy women throughout their childbearing experiences and to provide well woman gynecologic services. A NM provides care during pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period, including the immediate care of the newborn. A Nurse-Midwife also provides the entire spectrum of gynecologic care to women, from annual Pap smears and breast exams, to family planning counseling, preconception care, and menopause management.
What is the philosophy of Nurse-Midwives?
Nurse-midwives believe that every individual has a right to safe, satisfying health care with respect for human dignity and cultural variations. They support each person’s right to self-determination, to complete information, and to active participation in all aspects of their care. Nurse-Midwives believe in women and their ability to give birth. Nurse-midwives believe the normal process of pregnancy and birth can be enhanced through education, health care, and supportive intervention. They do not view their clients as sick patients needing high-tech intervention, but as partners who actively participate in their health care. Indeed, the term midwife is derived from Old English and literally means “with woman.” The practice of nurse-midwifery encourages continuity of care; emphasizes safe, competent clinical management; advocates non-intervention in normal processes; and promotes health education for women throughout the childbearing cycle. This practice extends to include gynecological care of women throughout the life cycle.
What type of education and experience does the midwife at The Midwives & Associates have?
NMs at The Midwives & Associates are registered nurses who have completed graduate-level midwifery education and are board-certified by The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). They are health professionals who are fully licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine to deliver comprehensive midwifery care, including prenatal, birth, and postpartum care, gynecologic examinations, and family planning services. Collectively, the midwives have attended thousands of births.
Can I receive routine gynecologic care from The Midwives & Associates?
Yes! Besides maternity services, The Midwives & Associates offer comprehensive well-woman care including Pap smear screening, breast examinations and mammography, contraceptive counseling, and menopause management. Bone density screening and care for complicated gynecologic problems are offered in collaboration with Garry C. Karounos, MD.
Why should I seek care from a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
The Midwives & Associates offer safe, satisfying health care with a personalized touch. Certified nurse-midwives generally spend more time with clients during visits, and put more emphasis on counseling and education, establishing trust, and providing emotional support and empowerment to women. The Midwives & Associates routinely offer extended time for your prenatal and gynecological visits. While CNMs are qualified to administer drugs, perform medical procedures and provide their clients with other technological interventions, they rely on technology only when it is medically necessary. As a result, women who are under the care of a CNM are less likely to have a cesarean section or an episiotomy and are more likely to experience a vaginal birth after a previous c-section. According to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, CNMs have a cesarean section rate of 11.6 percent and a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean section rate of 68.9 percent. During the same period, the national rates were 23.3 and 24.9 percent respectively (1,2). A new study from the National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows lower morbidity and mortality rates for infants delivered by certified nurse-midwives. Click here for more information. More and more women are seeking midwifery care. The number of births attended by midwives in the U.S. has increased rapidly in recent years from 0.9% in 1975 to 4.4% in 1991 to 5.5% in 1994 to 8.5% in 1997 (2).
Why would I need to see a physician during my prenatal, birth or postpartum experience?
CNMs care for essentially healthy women and newborns and are experts in detecting deviations from normal prenatal, birth, and postpartum processes. While rare, some women develop medical complications related to pregnancy or childbirth that require the attention of other medical professionals. Should any such circumstances develop, The Midwives & Associates will collaborate with the appropriate medical experts, including Garry C. Karounos, MD, to ensure that you receive the medical attention you require. If intervention extends beyond the scope of midwifery practice, such as cesarean surgery, your midwife will remain by your side to provide support and to answer any questions.
Can I continue to see The Midwives & Associates after my childbearing years?
Definitely! The Midwives & Associates pride themselves on their approach to meet the specific needs of women in the post-menopausal years. Women receive individualized education and counseling to make informed decisions regarding their health care options during menopause and beyond. Health care practices such as hormone replacement therapy, alternatives to hormone replacement therapy, mammography, bone density screening, and cholesterol screening are discussed and selected based on individual preference and need. Care for complicated gynecologic problems is offered in collaboration with Garry C. Karounos, MD.