By: Julie Paul, DNP, CNM and Susan Yount, PhD, CNM, WHNP-BC
Though the rich history of midwifery-led care goes way back, only within the last few years have we seen it grow exponentially in popularity—primarily due to the enhanced education surrounding the myths and facts of what a midwife does. In 2011, Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) attended 309,514 births in the United States. The history of South Shore Hospital’s (SSH) midwives started in 1987—with one midwife on staff. In 2014, the midwifery group has now grown to 10 CNMs. So far this year, from January through August, the midwives have attended 406 births.
If you choose a midwife at South Shore Hospital, what can you expect?
South Shore Hospital’s midwives are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your labor, birth and postpartum experience. The SSH midwives and obstetricians work closely together in a collaborative approach to ensure safety for all mothers and babies. In fact, though the national Cesarean section (C-section) rate is 32%, the primary c-section rate in births attended by a midwife at South Shore Hospital is only 8.8% in 2014.
The midwives care doesn’t stop at labor and delivery, instead it extends beyond the hospital to a variety of different locations in the community, where they see women for regular office visits—treating women from puberty to menopause and prenatal to postpartum.
When it comes to pain management during labor, our team at SSH offers a wide array of options, including:
- Therapeutic presence: partner, family member, nurses, CNMs (Research has shown this is the number one method to effectively manage pain in labor)
- Non-medicated comfort measures: position changes, massage, heat (warm packs),
- Relaxation techniques: breathing, music, visual imagery
- Hydrotherapy- tub and shower
- Labor balls
- Nitrous Oxide (coming soon to SSH)
- Pain medication
- Epidural anesthesia
The South Shore Hospital community also offers different types of prenatal care including:
- Traditional prenatal care: individual appointment—typically prenatal care starts at 8-12 weeks and consists of between 10-12, 15-minute-long visits.
- Group prenatal care: In this setting, groups of 8-10 women and their partners are seen for 10, two-hour sessions. This time frame includes an individual, private checkup and interactive group education. The benefit—Total time spent with a provider is 20 hours versus 1 hour and 30 minutes of face to face time. Research shows decreased rate of preterm-birth, increased satisfaction with prenatal care and increased success with breastfeeding.