SEATTLE — Director of the Midwifery Program at Swedish Lisa Arnold joins New Day Northwest to talk about what a certified nurse midwife (CNM) at Swedish can provide to women throughout their pregnancies.
Certified nurse midwives provide personalized care to each woman, attending to personal, cultural and spiritual needs throughout the process. CNMs can also provide comprehensive women’s healthcare, menopausal care, and birth-control counseling.
"Midwives specialize in caring for women prenatally," Arnold said. "Before the baby is born, during labor and birth, and then post-partum. But you can also beyond that see a midwife for your annual exams ... for birth control, for your paps, for IUD insertions, for pre-conception care, for gynecological problems, things like sexually transmitted diseases, and of course for menopause care."
Arnold said she felt that midwifery has a very unique philosophy of care.
"There are two very core components," she said, "The first piece is that we perceive pregnancy and birth as normal, natural processes. Pregnancy is not an illness, it's a state of health, and then the other piece is the importance of really listening to women -- hearing what is important to them and then honoring the vision they have of what this process looks like for them."
Swedish also offers a group prenatal care program.
"All of the women will do their prenatal care together, with their cohort," explained Arnold, "It gives everybody an opportunity to talk about how they're experiencing a lot of the same discomforts, concerns, and anxieties about their pregnancy."
Midwives are experts in low to moderate risk pregnancies.
"We have our obstetrician-gynecologists who are backing us up and who are experts in taking care of some of those higher-risk conditions," she said.
Women can also see a midwife for issues outside of pregnancy and birth.
"You would just call Swedish Midwifery at Ballard or Issaquah or First Hill and make an appointment," she said. "It's usually quicker to get in with us than with the OB/GYNs."
Midwifery in the United States differs from in other countries.
"In a lot of countries around the world, midwives do most of the delivery," she said, "So many different countries around the world, that honestly have some of the best outcomes for moms and babies too, that we see in the world."
Services provided by a certified nurse midwife:
- Physical exams
- Preconception care
- Teen pregnancy care
- Prenatal screening and care
- Ultrasound referrals
- VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at Swedish Issaquah
- Breastfeeding support
- Follow-up appointments
For more information on certified nurse midwives visit Swedish's website.