Midwives have been practicing since women began to birth babies. They are mentioned in many historical writings including the Bible:
“Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. As she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, ‘don’t be afraid..” Genesis 35:17 NIV
Midwifery in ancient times was very different to that of today. The village midwife was often a woman who had observed many births since her own childhood and was the person everyone called when a baby was coming. She was trained by observation, practice and apprenticeship. Sometimes she was called on to attend the ill during times of plague, to observe autopsies, to sign birth and death certificates and so much more. She would spend hours or days with families and was a central health care provider in the town or village! The word midwife means “with woman” because this is what we do! Stay with and encourage women!
Fast-forward to 2019! There are Certified Nurse-Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, Lay Midwives, and rural “granny midwives” or traditional birth attendants. We’ll focus here on the Certified Nurse-Midwife.
A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a provider who is trained in the dual disciplines of both nursing and midwifery. Typically, she is a nurse first and then later completes the specialty of midwifery. This means that the CNM is trained in both the science of nursing and the art of midwifery. In the United States, she (or he) then completes a national certification exam and is licensed to practice in their home state. They can practice independently in hospitals, birth centers and homes. This dual training and experience is what makes a Certified Nurse-Midwife different from any other midwife.
A competent CNM is expected to:
- Educate women about all aspects of their health care
- To provide sensitive care reflecting each woman’s individual desires
- Provide complete prenatal care
- Attend births on their own
- Provide postpartum care
- Provide care for the normal new baby through the first 6 weeks of life
- Educate women about prevention of health care problems like obesity and others
- Provide counseling to prepare women and their families
- To recognize problems in labor, birth and postpartum and do emergency care if needed
- To facilitate collaboration, referral and/or transfer to a higher level of medical care
- Prescribe appropriate medications or alternative treatments
- To provide family planning, pre-conception care and GYN care
- To provide care for women in peri-menopause or post-menopause
- And so much more!
This is exactly what the CNM staff at Canyon Midwifery is prepared to do! Welcome to this model of midwifery care! We are a staff of experienced, educated and caring women, ready to be “with woman”