By Grace Rice, Certified Nurse Midwife
As a certified nurse midwife (CNM) working in a collaborative hospital practice, many of our patients show up for their appointments and don’t know that they’re seeing a midwife – let alone what a midwife is. As a result, I often get asked questions like, “Can you deliver my baby? Won’t there be a doctor?”
And the answers are, “Happily!” and “Yes – if we need one!”
Our team of CNMs, Alison, Kristin and myself, work in close collaboration with Margaret Sullivan, MD, and Ellen Hearty, MD, to provide prenatal and birth care for well women in McDowell and surrounding counties.
Generally, midwives provide much of the same care that OB/GYN doctors provide for healthy women and low-risk births. When complications arise, either in the office or in the labor and delivery setting, our physicians are nearby and ready to help. They are available for phone consults or emergency surgeries, whatever the situation calls for. And midwives are trained to recognize complications before they become emergencies, so you can rest assured that you are in capable hands. As a group practice, we share on-call shifts and are available around the clock – either of the physicians are usually on-call alone, and there is always a physician on-call as backup support when a midwife is on call.
Of course, there are some common problems that midwives are trained and capable to handle on their own. If a woman experiences routine complications such as concern about fetal heart rate during labor or a laceration during childbirth requiring repair, these things are well within a midwife’s scope of practice.
Many patients and families are familiar with nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants as healthcare providers, so it’s helpful to note that certified nurse midwives fall into the same category of masters prepared advanced practice providers.
Grace Rice, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife with Mission Women’s Care. Grace sees patients at all Mission Women’s Care locations in the east region.
For Mission Women’s Care – McDowell, call 828-655-2677. For Mission Women’s Care – Spruce Pine and Mission Women’s Care – Burnsville, call 828-766-3001.