By Deborah Healy, CNM MS | Midwifery
When people hear the term ‘midwife,’ they might picture a woman coaching a mother through labor, about to deliver a baby. In fact, midwives (who can also be male) receive in-depth training in primary care, in addition to gynecology and obstetrics. Like doctors, midwives can be partners in evidence-based care across a woman’s entire lifespan– whether or not she is planning to have children. They work collaboratively, across disciplines, and are recognized advocates who champion for the good of their patients.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are nurses who have completed a graduate-level nurse-midwife program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Meanwhile, Certified Midwives (CMs) are non-nurses who have complete a graduate-level midwifery degree program and earned the same AMCB certification. In addition to any certification, a New York State licensed midwife (LM) must have passed a licensing examination approved by the State Education Department. The credential “LM” is used to identify licensed midwives on New York State birth certificates.
At CareMount, midwives function as primary healthcare providers, often working with women who are considered relatively healthy and at low risk. They provide a full range of women’s health services, all of which are billable to insurance. These include prenatal care, annual physicals, lab testing, gynecological exams, STD testing/education, and management of chronic diseases. Our midwives follow women through conception, pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum care. Midwives also offer care to women during peri and post-menopause years.
Central to this model is the fact that midwives are trained to recognize an urgent medical situation. They collaborate across disciplines and will always consult with doctors if they feel their patient needs more specialized attention. This is true for patients with complex medical histories, and/or those who develop high risk pregnancies. In the latter case, midwives will work with an obstetrician/gynecologist to create a care plan that addresses medical needs, while also making sure that the patient and family have the birth plan they desire. So, in keeping with CareMount’s designation as a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), both midwives and ObGyns will work together to take potential complications into account while also accomodating the patient’s wishes and preferences during during labor, delivery and recovery. This includes requests for pain relief. Through CareMount Medical’s collaborative referral system, midwives can access the OB/GYN department and other physician specialists to address any unexpected or emerging medical needs.
Every stage of a woman’s life, from the teen period to the childbearing years, through menopause and beyond, each has its own health concerns and challenges. Midwives are committed to partnering with our patients throughout every phase. They want to get to know each woman, and listen to her questions and concerns with compassion and sensitivity, while also respecting personal preferences and values. For this reason, we welcome you to make your next appointment with one of the highly skilled midwives on staff. They are here to support you, whatever your unique needs may be!