Certified Nurse-Midwife Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?

Today’s Certified Nurse-Midwife, (CNM) is a professional health care provider. Her initial degree was as a registered nurse (RN) who has furthered her education by graduating from a University based, advanced program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. In addition, nurse-midwives must pass a national certification examination and meet strict requirements set by state health agencies and may not practice Midwifery in that state without a license.

Where do Certified Nurse-Midwife’s work?

Nurse-Midwives work predominately in clinics and hospitals. Many work in private practices with physicians, employed by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) or work for a University Medical Center, like Michigan Medicine Nurse-Midwives.

What services do Certified Nurse-Midwife’s provide?

Nurse-Midwives provide prenatal, birth, postpartum and normal newborn care. They also provide routine gynecological care, which includes family planning services, yearly health maintenance examinations, care of the woman during menopause and the treatment of minor gynecologic disorders such as vaginitis. They are probably best known for how they help women during labor and birth, but they apply their philosophy of care in all settings and with women across their lifespan. 

Where will I have my baby? Can I have my baby at home?

We work exclusively out of the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Birth Center. Our unit provides single room maternity care. Therefore you labor, give birth and then stay in the same room until discharge, while a single nurse cares for you and your baby. At this time we are unable to take care of women planning a home birth.

Will the midwife I see in clinic deliver my baby?

We are a group practice; therefore any member of the service might be with you for your birth. As a group, we meet monthly to discuss our patient’s needs and desires for their birth. We work hard at being philosophically in the same place so that you do not have to “re-negotiate” your birth plan with each individual midwife.

Will my insurance pay for Nurse-Midwifery care?

Most insurance companies will pay for Nurse-Midwife care. The major insurers in this area, including Medicaid and most BCBS plans, pay for Midwifery care. (If you have BCBS, there are a few plans within that system that will not pay, so we encourage you to call and verify). If you call and ask your insurance company if they pay for Midwifery care, be sure to specify you will be delivering in the hospital. Many patients have thought that their insurance would not pay for Midwifery care, when they actually will.

I want a totally natural birth. I am concerned that if I deliver in the hospital, this is not possible.

We are very supportive of your desire for a natural birth. We will work hard with you to accomplish this and believe interventions should be used wisely and appropriately. We feel that we are partners in your care and will listen to your needs and desire. At times however, birth does not go as one desires. It is our job to guide you through this difficult path, making recommendations as needed. Our OB colleagues are very respectful of our practice, and we have an excellent working relationship. They will only become involved in your care if we consult with them.

I would like Midwifery care, but would also like an epidural. Can I still see a Midwife?

Definitely. Our motto is “Listen to Women” and if this is a strong desire on your part, we feel it is our role to support you in these decisions.

Do I have to have an IV? What about continuous fetal monitoring?

Each intervention is evaluated on its own merit as we assess how to provide you safe care. There are indications for each of these measures. If you do not meet these indications, you will not receive them. When you arrive at the birth center, we will place you on the monitor for a period that averages 20-30 minutes. Once we are reassured your baby is tolerating labor well, we encourage you to be up walking, showering or on a birth ball. 

I know U-M is a teaching hospital. Will I have a lot of students at my birth?

We believe strongly in teaching midwifery skills to the next generation of midwives and physicians. However, only one student at a time would work with a midwife. 

Can I labor in the tub? Birth in the tub?

We have 8 rooms with large tubs for laboring and, when appropriate, childbirth. Though we cannot guarantee a room with a tub is available, it is rare that there isn’t one available for our patients.  We will do waterbirths as long as you do not have any risk factors. This would be something you would discuss with your midwife in clinic before labor.

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