Published October 3, 2019
“Midwifery Is the Answer!”
By: Michelle Edgeman, MSN, CNM, FNP-BC
National Midwifery Week was created by the American College of Nurse Midwives to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care. This week of celebration, recognition, and awareness is observed September 29 – October 5. It is a time to show pride in the care midwives provide, and to emphasize the differences midwives make in the lives of their patients and their families every day.
Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who have a master’s degree in nursing and have passed national certification exams after 2 to 3 years of specialized training and internship. Midwives can work with autonomy with physician backup and supervision in all 50 states and can prescribe medication in all 50 states. The word midwife literally means “with woman”. This doesn’t only mean during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum period. Midwives also provide care from adolescence to menopause, do family planning and
contraceptive care , and provide STD education with testing and treatment. Simply put, we provide women’s healthcare throughout their lives.
The cornerstone of the midwifery care model emphasizes normalcy and wellness and involves a relationship between a woman and provider based on trust. A primary goal of midwifery is to empower women and to give them ownership of their health, their pregnancies and ultimately their lives. Midwifery care is a safe option for women and families, and reports show a high level of satisfaction with that care. Research found that in hospital settings nationally women with midwives have lower cesarean rates, reduced rates of induction and augmentation, reduc tion in the use of regional anesthesia, decreased preterm birth rates, a decrease in infant mortality rates, and fewer episiotomies. These women are more likely to breastfeed, have lower healthcare costs for themselves and insurers, and are less likely to have lacerations during birth. Midwives focus on the care of the whole woman (body, mind, and spirit) and that is no different for the midwives of Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology (AOG).
AOG has been a leading provider of obstetric & gynecologic care since opening its doors to the women of Dalton and the surrounding areas in 1970. AOG was a pioneer of midwifery care in the northwest Georgia area when they added midwives in 1976. Before that time, the nearest midwife practices were in the Atlanta area. The founders of AOG envisioned what women’s health care could and should be. This forethought and vision led to a thriving midwife practice that is well-respected and going strong more than 40 years later.
AOG’ s current midwife practice consists of six full scope midwives working in the office, covering overnight call and attending births at Hamilton Medical Center. A midwife is available for our patients in labor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also serve our community with one part-time midwife covering the Women’s Health Clinic at the Whitfield County Health Department. Nationally, midwives attended only about 8 percent of vaginal births in 2018. The AOG midwives attend more than 700 vaginal births annually, including approximately 94% of the vaginal births for our practice over the past 2 years. Nationally, the primary C-Section rate in 2018 was 21%.
The primary C-Section rate for our practice during the same period was a commendable 12% and we are proud that
midwifery care is one of the reasons that this rate is so low.
AOG midwives provide a wide range of care. In addition to performing vaginal deliveries, we also assist our physicians with cesarean sections. We provide contraceptive counseling, perform office procedures including inserting contraceptive implants and IUDs, provide childbirth education, and sponsor a local pregnancy & infant loss support group. Our mission at AOG is to provide the highest quality of obstetric & gynecologic care and the midwives are an integral part of the care team. From adolescence to pregnancy to menopause, the midwives of AOG are dedicated to providing the best possible care for women of all ages. We are truly “with women” for a lifetime.