It’s time for your well-woman exam, and you’ve got a lot of personal questions.
You’re pregnant, and you have very specific ideas about the experience you want to have.
You’re getting older, and you want to be proactive about preventing serious health problems.
These are very different aspects of life, but they can all be addressed with expertise, sensitivity and support by a special group of providers – Certified Nurse Midwives. Nurse midwives provide regular well-woman care and prenatal and childbirth care, partnering with patients to improve health and wellbeing at every stage of life.
During National Midwifery Week October 4-10, Regional One Health’s midwifery team wants to empower patients to get the most out of their care from a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Bring your questions – and we mean all your questions!
No topic is too personal. “We want to answer questions,” said Amanda Williams, CNM. “We want you to be open and honest about your lifestyle, sex, sexual and gender orientation – everything. We’re not going to judge you. We’re here to make sure you’re safe and healthy.”
Williams said that makes nurse midwives a great match for patients of all ages. They can teach teens what to expect from puberty and sex and guide adults through vulnerable times like sexual health challenges, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
Certified Nurse Midwives typically have longer appointments with their patients, which gives them time to ask questions and listen to each individual’s concerns and goals.
Breia Loft, CNM, said the midwifery approach focuses on putting patients at ease and earning their trust. Their practice allows them to have longer appointments, time they use to ask questions and get to know each person’s concerns and goals.
“We focus on developing strong relationships and providing an environment that makes patients feel comfortable bringing up issues,” she said. “We’re well prepared to give you medical advice, but we also want you to feel empowered to be part of your care.”
Be prepared to take part in the decision-making process
Nurse midwives have a master’s or doctorate and operate like a nurse practitioner, so they have plenty of expertise to guide care, prescribe medications, order tests, etc. But don’t be surprised if they ask you to weigh in on your options!
“A difference in the midwifery model is we don’t dictate to patients, we educate them and support them to make healthy decisions,” said Meghan Madea, CNM. “We love proactive patients who have done their research and want to discuss their options!”
Davin Johnson, CNM, said nurse midwives value their patients’ knowledge about what works best for them personally. “As nurse midwives, we’re experts in women’s health – but each patient as in an expert in themselves,” she said. “We encourage you to ask questions and make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you.”
Nurse midwives can care for women at all stages of their lives. They’re a great resource for younger patients who need education, and can be at patients’ side through pregnancy and menopause.
Johnson said patients have the best outcomes when their relationship with their provider is a true partnership. “Speak up and talk to you providers so we can work with you to mold a model of care that works best for you,” she advised.
From there, nurse midwives support patients’ wishes so long as they are safe and healthy. “We will redirect you if we think a different plan would better serve you, but we will always keep you informed and part of the decision-making team,” Madea said.
Use them as a resource to benefit your entire family
Midwifery has a strong educational component, and Renee Hallford, CNM, said many women find that helps them not only improve their own health but that of their entire family.
“In the United States, women are the main health care decision-makers for their families,” she said. “By empowering women, we develop better outcomes for her entire family – and this can continue through the generations. If a child sees their mom asking questions and advocating for good care for the family, they will hopefully do the same when they are a parent.”
Don’t limit your conversation to medical concerns alone
Nurse midwives treat the whole person, not just their medical needs.
Edna Tucker, CNM, said, “We’re caring for women and families in an increasingly complex society, so we not only address medical issues, but things like homelessness, domestic and sexual abuse and mental health.”
Regional One Health is the only hospital in Memphis where women can deliver with the support of a nurse midwife. Our team focuses on helping women achieve their birth plan.
Nurse midwives build genuine relationships with patients to help them with evolving challenges in various aspects of their lives.
“Midwives often become a woman’s confidante and advocate,” Tucker said. “This has a long-term positive effect that empowers women physically, psychologically and socially.”
Start empowering yourself today!
Our certified nurse midwives see patients at Kirby Primary Care (2725 Kirby Rd., Suite 1; call 901-515-5350) and Hollywood Primary Care (2500 Peres Ave.; call 901-515-5500).
They also attend births at Regional One Health, the only hospital in Memphis where patients can give birth with the support of a nurse midwife.
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