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. In honor of National Midwifery Week, we wanted to share some of the exciting facts about our growing midwifery program.
Moms-to-be usually first meet our midwives at our monthly Meet the Midwives night. This free event gives women 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.
At South Shore Hospital, we now have 17 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. Midwives triage patients on the Birthing Unit, 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.
In 2017, our midwives attended approximately 30 percent of the births at South Shore Hospital—more than we did in 2016.
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.)
I continue to teach nursing students clinical skills during their maternity rotation. All of the midwives support and help teach midwifery care to CNM, medical and physician assistant students at South Shore Hospital.
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.
That includes supporting women who have experienced trauma. South Shore Health midwives have 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. Stay tuned for some exciting new initiatives in the months ahead!
To learn more about midwifery at South Shore Health, click here.
Ruby Ristuccia, CNM, contributed to this blog post.