The Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) at Regional One Health provide a unique opportunity for expectant mothers who want that non-traditional experience while being an active advocate in their own labor and delivery process, now providing 24/7 coverage to the hospital for deliveries with its midwifery program.
Regional One Health is the only hospital in Shelby County that staffs Certified Nurse Midwives as part of its OB/GYN team, giving expectant mothers another labor and delivery choice that comes with the safety net of a hospital setting.
Certified Nurse Midwives are defined as primary care providers under federal law and are licensed, independent health care providers with prescriptive authority in all 50 states. Certified Nurse Midwives provide a full range of primary health care services for women that include primary care, gynecologic and family planning services, preconception and pregnancy care, childbirth and the postpartum period, and newborn care during the first 28 days of life.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that nurse midwives attended 332,107 births in 2014, making up 8.3 percent of all U.S. births. It’s an 11 percent increase since 2005.
The Regional One Health Certified Nurse Midwife service has a full capacity of six midwife nurses, enabling them to cover the hospital 24/7 for deliveries while also seeing patients for low-risk obstetrics and well-woman primary care at the Hollywood and South Third primary care clinics Monday through Friday.
Why midwifery? Expectant mothers with unique desires for their pregnancy, labor and delivery experiences have a voice when working with midwives. The Certified Nurse Midwives at Regional One Health work with expectant mothers to create a unique plan. Midwives are there to serve as advocates and friends to expectant mothers through the whole process.
Midwives are low intervention. That doesn’t mean patients can’t have pain medication. In fact, one of the many positives about Regional One Health’s midwives working in a hospital setting is patients have access to epidurals if requested and all the labor support afterwards.
That midwifery low-intervention model means fewer cesarean births. In fact, the cesarean birth rate in the U.S. is 10 percent with midwives attending compared to more than 30 percent in traditional deliveries. According to The American College of Nurse Midwives, women cared for by Certified Nurse Midwives have lower rates of labor induction and augmentation, a reduction in the incidence of third and fourth degree perineal tears, lower use of regional anesthesia, and higher rates of breastfeeding.
“There are reasons to do interventions but that’s a discussion, not a mandate,” said Brenda “Breia” Loft, CNM, MSN, a Regional One Health midwife who began her medical career as a labor and delivery nurse before going back to school and starting midwifery practice in 1997.
Emergencies can arise during delivery. Regional One Health’s midwives always follow evidence-based care, meaning they stay within boundaries of medical evidence and don’t push limits or boundaries.
All Regional One Health midwives are Certified Nurse Midwives, which means they have Registered Nurse (RN) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensures. They also are certified through the American Midwifery Board. They must follow protocols and standards, just like physicians.
Patients can decide to work with a midwife at any point of the pregnancy, whether it’s just weeks in or days before delivery.
There isn’t a “typical” patient who works with Regional One Health midwifery providers. An expectant mother typically chooses to work with a midwife because she wants more involvement in her care. Amber Peasley, MSN, CNM, said one of the most important things midwives bring to patients is a comforting presence.
“Having a midwife is like having your best friend who is also a medical care provider. It’s like having your best friend deliver the baby,” said Peasley.
“Some patients say I couldn’t do this without you,” Loft added. “I say, ‘No, you could do it without me. But you’re allowing me to be here. It’s all you.’ It’s about empowerment and making sure the power rests with the patient.”