Midwifery in the ’90s

Birth is natural

Nurse-midwives view birth as a natural, normal process that does not necessarily require medical intervention. For low-risk, healthy women, CNMs can offer some of the same services a physician can. (Most insurance companies pay for nurse-midwife services.)

CNMs build relationships with women through education and by personally involving them in health care decisions. CNMs, like physicians, discuss medical procedures such as amniocentesis thoroughly with parents-to-be and encourage them to make informed decisions.

CNMs may offer massage techniques, hydrotherapy, or the use of a birthing ball or stool. They may have the woman try different birthing positions or walk to use gravity as a natural birth facilitator. Their goals are to reduce pain, facilitate labor and offer emotional support.

Nurse-midwives, like physicians, use medical interventions, such as pain medications, electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals and episiotomy, labor-inducing drugs, if the need arises.

Nurse-midwives offer women an option

Today many health care professionals, government policy makers and consumers are embracing nurse-midwifery.

Skinner and Hastings-Tolsma find that many women choose a nurse-midwife, but, at the same time, want reassurance that advanced technology will be available if needed. If a woman develops complications in labor or delivery, CNMs work with physicians to co-manage their care.

Nurse-midwives offer women another choice among health care providers, but the goal is the same — healthy mothers having healthy babies.

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