The New Face of Midwifery Delivers More Options in Women’s Health

When you think of a women’s healthcare provider, especially for reproductive health, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is often top of mind. But if you went out on a limb and thought of a midwife first, you’re joining a growing body of forward-thinkers raising the bar on what it means to advocate for your health.

Though ‘midwifery’ and ‘forward-thinking’ in the same sentence may raise a few skeptical eyebrows, we urge you not to shrug us off just yet. Today’s certified nurse-midwives (CNM) work together with advanced women’s health teams to deliver a highly evolved, personalized, and integrated approach to women’s healthcare.

In honor of National Midwifery Week (September 29-October 5, 2019), we’re celebrating the evolution of our profession and the numerous ways it’s supporting – and transforming – the field of women’s health.

The evolution of midwifery

Derived from an English term that means “with woman,” midwives have assisted women during labor and delivery for centuries. With a shift toward physician-attended and hospital births in the 19th and 20th centuries, midwifery took a backseat until its resurgence in the 1970s. In the decades since, many nurses have sought advanced training and earned masters’ degrees as CNMs, who then practice in prominent positions on integrated women’s health teams like ours.

While midwives have evolved their techniques over the decades, the reasons women are drawn to them remains unchanged. Midwives lend compassion, counseling, and hands-on care rooted in the centuries-old philosophy that Mother Nature knows best. As nurses first, CNMs focus on listening, safety, and bedside manner as they provide a holistic approach to care.

We are trained to see the whole woman and to meet them where they are. Whether a patient is pregnant, planning to become pregnant – or doesn’t have babies on the brain at all – a midwife helps them tune into their body and journey toward optimal health. Using up-to-date, evidencebased care, CNMs provide healthcare for women throughout their lives.

Midwifery today and beyond

Here in Dodge County and throughout the country, we’ve witnessed a movement where patients want more say in their healthcare. They’re calling for less intervention and trending toward a back-to-basics approach aimed to support – and not hinder – a woman’s well-being. Whether we’re talking about vaccines, epidurals, or anything else that shows up on the nightly news and social media feeds, our culture is tossing some tough health questions into the ring.

As CNMs, we help guide women through these issues and break through the noise. Balancing oldworld tradition, modern medicine, and a woman’s intuition about her own body, we provide care that is both healthy and safe. Certified nurse-midwives in a low-risk hospital birth setting may be one of the best examples of such a blend. Along with the comfort and homeopathic values, women and babies also have access to a full array of medical support options in this scenario should risk increase or the labor or delivery suddenly veer off course.

We’re grateful to be part of a clinic that supports this exceptional partnership between CNMs, doctors, and other women’s health providers. As practitioners with diverse areas of expertise, we work in collaboration to provide precisely the kind of broad-minded care that patients are asking for – and deserve. Today’s women are empowered to take advantage of such uniquely woven skills, and we certainly hope they do.

Cindy Stippich, MSN, CNM, APNP

Brittany Froeming, MSN, CNM, APNP

Beaver Dam Women’s Health

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