Everything You Need to Know about Midwifery Care

It’s National Midwifery Week and we are definitely celebrating at South Shore Health!

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what midwives do, show you how far we’ve come here at South Shore Hospital, and help dispel some of those common myths that are often associated with midwifery care.   

What is midwifery?

The term “midwife” is an old English word that literally means “with woman.” Our job is to do just that… be with you! Midwifery is built on a nursing foundation and philosophy of care. It is a long-standing practice and art that goes way back in time: We’re talking Ancient Greece, the Bible, and perhaps even earlier than that!

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?

A CNM is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who specializes in midwifery. That means we get a bachelor’s degree, become registered nurses, and then get a master’s degree to get specialized education and training to become CNMs.

Our focus has always been to maintain and support the belief that pregnancy and birth are normal processes that the body is made to do. And our job as midwives? That’s right, were here to encourage, guide and care for women along that journey.

Historically, physicians have focused on the high-risk, complicated cases. In turn, this has given midwives the time to spend honing their craft of caring for women in a low-risk setting.

A Brief History of Midwifery at South Shore Hospital

Many people think midwifery in a more traditional healthcare setting is a new trend. But South Shore Hospital has been a supporter of midwives for more than 30 years.

1987: The First Midwifery practice is established at South Shore Hospital. One CNM begins delivering babies. (Hi, Nannette!)

1993: South Shore Hospital's Midwifery Practice begins to grow. Team grows to five CNMs.

1995: There are nine CNMs at South Shore Hospital. The goal is to grow the practice and expand midwifery access for all women on the South Shore.

2011: South Shore Hospital's Laborist Midwife practice is established. This represents a shift from a conventional private practice model to a 24-hour obstetrician and midwifery collaborative model designed to improve patient safety.

2019: Today, the laborist practice provides care in all affiliated OB/GYN offices. There are 17 CNMs delivering care at South Shore Hospital, the Women’s Center of South Shore Medical Center, and beyond. (We’re also a key part of the Team Birth model of care at South Shore Hospital.)

Dealing with Common Myths of Midwifery

If you’ve ever told anyone in your circle that you were planning to see midwives during your pregnancy, you can probably relate to having to do some explaining. Is it safe? Are you’re going to have a homebirth? You don’t want any medication? Does that mean you’re going to eat your placenta?

First things first, yes it’s safe. No, you don’t have to have a homebirth. If you want medications, fine by us. And finally, no, you do not have to eat your placenta. I’d stick to the grilled cheese if I were you.

Need more myth-busting? Check out this blog: Debunking Five Common Myths of Midwifery.

Midwives Empower Women

The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) is encouraging us all to embrace and celebrate the wonderful contributions that midwifery has made to so many lives. ACNM’s theme this year is #MidwiferyIsTheAnswer! Midwives embrace women of all different backgrounds. We offer individualized education and support to all of our patients. Our goal is to empower women to take control of their health and recognize their strength and resiliency so that they can pass those skills on to the next generation.

I am inviting everyone who feels that midwifery has made a positive impact on their life to share your stories with friends, family, and the community. We love to hear from you, so please feel free to reach out to tell us why is #MidwiferyIsTheAnswer for you!

Want to share your story? Tag @southshorehealth in your Instagram post, or share your story on the SSH Babies Facebook page.

Learn more about Midwifery Care.