By Deb Nalty
Monroe A pregnancy—whether it’s your first or your fifth—is one of life’s most precious experiences. As a family medicine physician, I’m often the one to confirm that my patient is pregnant, and many women ask me for advice in choosing an obstetrical provider.
Lately there seems to be a lot of interest, and misconception, about nurse-midwives. Some questions I hear: How are midwives trained and certified? Do they work separately from obstetrical physicians? Do midwives deliver babies at home? Do they offer pain medication?
Providence Medical Group has its own team of certified nurse-midwives, and since I’ve had excellent, first-hand experience working with them, I can clear up some of the questions.
Essentially, a midwife’s care is a great option if your pregnancy is not expected to be high-risk, and if you prefer a supportive, personalized experience. Not all midwives are the same, however, so it’s smart to check your nurse-midwife’s credentials before making a decision.
All Providence nurse-midwives are Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP). They have completed an accredited training program and are nationally certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Our nurse-midwives are part of our large team of Providence providers who work together to care for all the needs of a pregnant woman. For backup and support with complicated obstetric cases, our nurse-midwives work closely with the medical doctors of Providence Medical Group Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the Maternal Fetal Medicine staff.
Our nurse-midwives do not deliver babies in private homes. If you engage a Providence nurse-midwife, your baby will be born in the Family Maternity Center in the Pavilion for Women and Children at Providence Regional. This facility has a Level III neonatal intensive care unit on site in case a baby is born too early or with medical complications.
The Children’s Center, also in the Pavilion, offers immediate therapy if a baby is born with neurodevelopmental problems. As for pain medication—to use it, or not, is completely your choice. Our nurse-midwives create a delivery plan with each expectant mom, well in advance of the labor. The plan includes instructions for use of pain medication based on your conversations.
In 2011 and 2012, the Providence Medical Group nurse-midwives earned a spot in the American College of Nurse-Midwives 2011 Best Practices Recognition Roster.
The group was recognized as having the lowest cesarean section rates compared to other large midwifery practices in the nation for two years in a row. This is a testament to the level of expertise that our nurse-midwives offer patients, and supports my opinion that a nurse-midwife’s care is an excellent choice for many pregnant women. Dr. Deb Nalty is the medical director of Providence Medical Building Monroe.