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What is a midwife?


The tradition of having a midwife for childbirth is a long one, but make no mistake that today’s certified nurse midwives (CNM) are highly trained medical professionals.

A CNM is an advanced practice nurse with a master’s degree in nursing who specializes in the care of women across their lifespan. CNMs are considered independent practitioners, who have the authority to write prescriptions.

The main difference between a midwife and an OB-GYN is in the perspective of care for their patients. Midwives are trained as nurses first, in the health promotion model of care. This means that they are trained to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices while taking into account physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors of health. OB-GYNs are trained in the medical model, which focuses mostly on the physical aspect of care and treatment. They specialize in surgery and illness processes, and midwives specialize in education and management of normal pregnancy and birth.

Because they are not called out of the office as frequently for emergencies and surgeries, midwives often have the luxury of being able to spend a great deal of time with their patients. A midwife can typically offer a highly personalized, natural process of care for your pregnancy and birth, and will have a collaborative agreement with a physician, who can consult or assist if risks or issues emerge.

If you decide that a midwife is the best choice for you and your baby, Mercy Medical Center has an expert team of certified nurse midwives, who are now accepting patients. For more information, visit http://www.affinityhealth.org/Affinity/Services/Obstetrics-and-Gynecology/Midwives.htm



How to choose a midwife


As a mom, I know that pregnancy is a time filled with plans and questions. The question, “Who will provide my pregnancy and delivery care?” is front and center for many moms-to-be. Many also wonder “Who will take care of me after I have my baby?” Mercy Medical Center has a full team of compassionate, skilled Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) who can fulfill all of those needs.

Care for all life’s stages
A CNM is an advanced practice nurse who specializes in the care of healthy women across the lifespan. They are RNs who have gone on to receive a master’s degree in nursing and are considered independent practitioners with the authority to write prescriptions. CNMs are required to have a collaborative agreement with a doctor to whom they can refer high-risk patients.

During pregnancy, CNMs offer the same pain management options as an OB-GYN, as well as continuous labor support and other natural pain relief options. Because they are less likely to be called away to surgery and emergencies, CNMs can often spend more time with individual patients to address any concerns you might have about your pregnancy or birth. Continue Reading »

What is a water birth?


You already know that a warm bath can soothe sore muscles and help you relax. It makes sense, then, that for many moms a water birth—when your labor, delivery or both are done in a birth tub filled with warm water—makes the birthing experience less painful and more soothing.

You may not be an ideal candidate for water birth if:

  • You are having a multiple birth
  • You have experienced complications such as preeclampsia or premature labor
  • You have existing medical conditions
  • Are considered a high-risk pregnancy
  • Your baby is premature (less than 37 weeks)
  • Your baby is in the breech position
  • Your baby has first bowel movement while still inside (meconium stained fluid)

However, if your pregnancy has been healthy and your baby is well positioned, there are many benefits of water birthing.

While epidural and intrathecal pain control methods cannot be used during a water birth, you may not miss them. Studies have shown that having all or part of your labor in water reduces pain, in part by decreasing adrenaline production, allowing for a shorter labor, and by decreasing the pressure on your abdomen, which means better blood circulation and more oxygen to both you and your baby.

The water also helps reduce the incidence and severity of tearing, and the buoyancy makes it easier for you to move and find a position that is comfortable. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more you will be able to focus on the process of birth as it’s happening. Continue Reading »

Baby’s First Foods (Infographic)

As a mother of a nine-month old, I understand the feelings parents may have when introducing first foods to your baby. It is exciting, but also nerve-wracking. Starting pureed solids is a slow and gradual process. Keep in mind that early on, most of your baby’s nutrition is coming from breastmilk or formula. Here are some tips and answers to help you get started.

Connection specialist, patient and new mom


In 2012 I started my job as a connection specialist, which allows me the opportunity to help our community get properly matched with great health care. I was able to use my job skills to match myself with excellent health care in 2014 when I became pregnant!

I’ll never forget the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had visited my OBGYN with complaints of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. I thought I was starting early menopause, and I laughed when the nurse asked if I was pregnant. But sure enough, the pregnancy test came back positive. I couldn’t believe that at 40 I could be pregnant again!

It took a little bit to let everything soak in. All of the questions of the pregnancy process began to swim around in my mind: who would I choose as an OB and what were the steps I needed to take to make sure both baby and I stayed healthy? Finding out you’re pregnant is an exciting time but very overwhelming time, no matter what your age. Thankfully, Affinity has a whole team of experts to guide moms-to-be, partners and your baby along the journey.

This is where I, as a connection specialist, became a patient again. Only you can decide what the most important considerations are for you. Before you choose a provider, your connection specialist will ask the following questions about: Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.