Midwifery: Empowering & Educating Moms
Learning you’re pregnant can be both a wonderful and scary realization, especially for first-time moms-to-be. There is so much to consider, from proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy to labor decisions when those nine months are coming to a close.
One birthing option rising in popularity is enlisting the help of a midwife. Unfortunately, there are still myths and misunderstandings surrounding this field.
Kerry Eldridge, certified nurse midwife and the Midwife Program Manager at Oroville Hospital, works daily to prove just how far midwifery has come. “Here at Oroville Hospital, our midwives are certified nurse midwives, which means they have attended an accredited university and received a post-baccalaureate degree,” she explains. “Most of us have Master’s degrees and we are also certified by our national professional organization, the American College of Nurse Midwives. We are highly-trained and well-educated.”
Benefits of Midwifery: More than Labor & Delivery
Midwives are very similar to obstetricians (OBs) in the services they provide, but Eldridge believes one of the added benefits of partnering with a midwife is the relationship midwives develop with moms-to-be. As a result, women may feel more comfortable expressing concerns or asking questions. “One of the hallmarks of midwifery is to educate and empower our patients so they can be a part of their care and have the kind of birth they're desiring,” states Eldridge.
Additionally, women get to experience a full range of care services, including prenatal care, labor and delivery services, postpartum care, family planning, and well women visits. Oroville’s midwives also offer pap smears, mammograms, and menopause care—everything a patient needs (and wants) from her provider.
Safety & Insurance Considerations
One of the most widespread myths is that midwives are only used in a home birth setting. In fact, ninety-five percent of certified nurse midwives deliver babies in hospitals as opposed to the home. While “natural childbirth” is encouraged, midwives are able to order medications, including epidurals.
Should an unexpected emergency arise, the midwives at Oroville have access to a back-up OB/GYN who is on call at all times. “We have a great relationship with our back-up physicians,” assures Eldridge. “They are always here promptly and immediately when we need them.”
Another myth is that insurance does not cover a midwife’s services. In the case of self-taught or apprentice-trained midwives, insurance likely will not cover their services. However, all of the certified nurse midwives who are affiliated with either a hospital or a birth clinic are fully reimbursed; exactly the same as a physician.
Free Childbirth Classes
Oroville offers patients a six-week prepared childbirth class, free of charge. It meets weekly; typically between twenty-eight and thirty weeks gestation. “The classes are taught by two RNs from the OB department who are very passionate about teaching this course and love doing it. They make it fun, they make it interesting,” says Eldridge.
The classes also provide instruction from certified breastfeeding educators and consultants, as well as advice on positions for pushing, positions for comfort, nutrition in pregnancy, and newborn feeding and safety issues.
“Our main focus is to educate and empower our patients, so women can be part of their own healthcare team. We ensure their needs, wishes, and thoughts are taken into consideration,” states Eldridge.
To learn more about the Midwife Program at Oroville Hospital, please visit www.OrovilleHospital.com.
**To listen to an interview with Kerry Eldridge, certified nurse midwife and the Midwife Program Manager at Oroville Hospital, follow this link: https://radiomd.com/oroville/item/38206