The State of Midwifery at South Shore Health
At South Shore Health, we believe that all women deserve access to midwifery care during pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond.
Our midwifery program continues to make great strides here at South Shore Health.
Moms-to-be usually first meet our midwives at our monthly Meet the Midwives sessions. These sessions give expecting mothers and their families an opportunity to meet some of our midwives, ask questions, and learn more about midwifery care. Afterward, we offer an additional free class which focuses on a different topic each month, surrounding labor and birth.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meet the Midwives has gone virtual! Visit our website to register for an upcoming session.
At South Shore Hospital, we now have 16 Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) on staff, allowing us to have two midwives on at almost all times. This means that we are available to collaborate with physicians and nurses, provide labor support, and facilitate deliveries in our low-risk patient population.
Our midwives are also key members of our Obstetrics Emergency Department (OB ED). Launched in July 2020, the OB ED at South Shore Hospital is the first of its kind in the state of Massachusetts, and provides a place for women over 20 weeks gestation to get 24/7 treatment for pregnancy-related emergencies.
Midwives triage patients, help doctors to perform cesarean sections when necessary, and help our post-partum mothers by visiting them each day to do physical exams, assist with breastfeeding, review warning signs for any complications, teach comfort and self-care, and get mom’s whole family ready for discharge.
Many of the midwives are also involved in the Team Birth Project at South Shore Hospital. We are one of three pilot locations in the entire United States for this program, which is designed to lower the primary cesarean section rate. (Listen to a WBUR report on the Team Birth Project.)
But a midwife’s work goes beyond pregnancy and childbirth.
Our aim is to educate women and empower them to make decisions that support their lives and grow their families in a happy and healthy way.
South Shore Health’s perinatal behavioral health program is led by Julie Paul, PMHNP-BC, CNM. Julie is a midwife with a certification as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. This means she helps women with birth trauma, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and/or addiction up to two years after giving birth. To date, the perinatal behavioral health program has helped close to 500 patients.
South Shore Health midwives have also expanded some of their expertise to include work in helping survivors of sexual assault. Connie Breece, CNM is now certified to train providers in the care of women in pregnancy and labor that have had trauma related to sexual assault.
We are excited to continue to grow and strengthen our practice so that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of women and families of the South Shore.
We’ve come a long way since our program began more than 30 years ago, and we can’t wait to see what the next 30 years brings!
Learn more about midwifery at South Shore Health.
Ruby Ristuccia, CNM, contributed to this blog post.
This post was originally published on October 2, 2018.