On International Day of the Midwife, Regional One Health is celebrating our midwifery team for providing patient-centered care to women at all stages of life.
Regional One Health is the only hospital in Memphis where women can give birth with the support of a Certified Nurse Midwife, and our team also offers well-woman care with a focus on education and empowering patients to improve their health.
Our nurse midwives see patients at our Main Campus, Hollywood Primary Care, and Kirby Primary Care.
Regional One Health’s certified nurse midwives provide evidence-based medical care for women of all ages, but they also rely on a less scientific yet equally important skill: listening.
For Breia Loft, CNM, Director of Midwifery Services at Regional One Health, that is what helps set midwifery apart from other models of care.
“We truly listen to each patient,” Loft said. “It helps us build a trusting relationship. Whether we’re seeing them for regular care or supporting them in pregnancy and birth, we can help them have the experience they want.”
For patients seeking regular gynecologic care, certified nurse midwives provide recommended exams and screening along with education and support.
“We always say that if you come to us for your annual exam, it’s like you made a lunch date with a friend, but you’re getting your medical care too,” Loft said. “We’re professionals and we provide expert care, but we’re approachable and spend more time with each person.”
That allows them to talk to patients about their medical history, concerns, and goals.
“We talk about pain, irregular bleeding, birth control, sexual dysfunction, and any mental health issues they’re experiencing,” Loft said. “We try to take care of the whole person. If we need to, we can refer you to a mental health provider or another specialist for additional care.”
“People want to take back control of their bodies and their health care, and midwifery is a very validating, patient-centered style of care,” says Breia Loft, Director of Midwifery Services. “By listening to our patients, we’re all on the same page and they get the GYN, prenatal, and childbirth care they want.”
Midwifery is a non-judgmental style of care, and nurse midwives are careful not to dictate to patients. Instead, Loft said, they provide accurate information and work with patients to find the option that meets their health care needs and their lifestyle.
Often, they can also avoid the more uncomfortable exams associated with gynecologic care.
“We don’t want our patients to feel vulnerable, so we ask permission for everything we do,” Loft said. “In many cases, unless a patient has symptoms we need to check on, we don’t need to do a pelvic exam to make sure they’re in good health.”
The same is true for patients who see a certified nurse midwife for prenatal and childbirth care.
Nurse midwives follow the same appointment schedule as OB/GYNs for routine pregnancy, and perform the same tests and lab work, such as urine tests, fetal heartrate monitoring, ultrasounds, and screening for gestational diabetes.
Thanks to longer appointment times, they can also discuss the patient’s goals for childbirth. “Usually around 30 to 32 weeks I ask patients if they’ve thought about what type of birth they want, and we start talking about a birth plan,” Loft said. “The prenatal relationship is important, because it fosters trust between the patient and nurse midwife when it’s time to give birth.”
She is careful to manage expectations, making it clear that the health of mom and baby are paramount, but that she’ll do everything she can to support the type of birth the patient wants.
“Safety is first, but your birth experience is a close second. If we can combine those two things, it is fantastic,” Loft said.
During birth, nurse midwives remain with their patient throughout their labor and delivery, and patients get best of both worlds.
Regional One Health’s Certified Nurse Midwives provide gynecologic care, prenatal care, and labor & delivery support. Their patient-centered model of care empowers women to improve their health at any stage of life.
Regional One Health is the only hospital in Memphis where patients can give birth with the support of a nurse midwife, so they have access to epidurals, high-tech monitoring, and state-of-the-art surgical care if complications arise. Meanwhile, the nurse midwives offer supportive care and alternative pain relief, and focus on providing medical intervention only when necessary.
That gives patients more say in when their cervix is checked, the position in which they give birth, whether to use medications like Pitocin or an epidural, etc. If there is a medical issue requiring intervention, the nurse midwife gives the patient clear, factual information about what is happening and what they are recommending.
“Your body is very skilled at birthing a baby!” Loft said. “We support you in the birth you want. It’s your birth, your baby, your body. We come with that mindset.”
Loft said a lot of women deal with trauma from childbirth and other health care experiences that left them feeling powerless and vulnerable. With midwifery, the goal is to empower patients to play an active role in their care so they can achieve their goals and improve their health.
“People want to take back control of their bodies and their health care, and midwifery is a very validating, patient-centered style of care,” she said. “By listening to our patients, we’re all on the same page and they get the GYN, prenatal, and childbirth care they want.”
Regional One Health’s certified nurse midwives see patients at Hollywood Primary Care, Kirby Primary Care, and our Main Campus.