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5 midwife myths: From epidural to insurance, midwives can deliver

Posted on Nov. 13, 2012 ( comments)
Jodee Gutierrez, ARNP, is a Certified Nurse Midwife at the MultiCare Women’s Health & Wellness Center in Gig Harbor.

Throughout the years, I've found that many people don’t understand the role of a midwife or how a midwife can help ensure both mother and child are taken care of.

Here are some answers and explanations about the top myths I've encountered as a midwife:

“Midwives don't deliver babies in hospitals.”

In fact, most midwife-assisted deliveries take place in a hospital setting, using the same state-of-the-art technology that Obstetricians use during delivery. The biggest difference is the type of care you’ll encounter: Midwives like to take time to get to know our patients. Throughout labor, for example, a midwife will often stay at the hospital and visit the expectant mother more frequently. We also often stay in the hospital room after delivery to help ensure the baby is breastfeeding properly and everything is going OK.

“I want to be able to get pain medication during labor, so I should choose a doctor.”

Midwives have prescribing authorities and can get the laboring mother an epidural or other pain medication the same way a doctor can. There is one difference between a midwife and a doctor in this respect: A midwife will often be a bit more patient with labor progression. During the labor, midwives will often help patients manage pain with different positions and techniques, which can help delay or even negate the need for drugs.

“Midwives aren't trained.”

Every licensed midwife in Washington has undergone extensive training and practice, but it’s important to know that there are different types of midwives. In Washington, both Certified Nurse Midwives and Licensed Midwives are recognized. Certified Nurse Midwives have a nursing degree and receive specialized training in midwifery; Licensed Midwives must complete three years in a state-approved midwifery education program, then pass an exam.

“Midwifery isn’t covered by my insurance.”

Midwifery care is covered by all insurance plans in Washington state by law. That includes Medicare and Medicaid.

“I don’t need a midwife because I’m not pregnant.”

Midwives are licensed to provide complete obstetric and gynecological care. Some also do primary care. We’re focused broadly on women’s health, not just labor and delivery.

I was drawn to become a midwife because pregnancy and childbirth are so amazing, I wanted to be a part of them every day. I know many of my colleagues who feel similarly – and together, we help provide a high level of care for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Jodee Gutierrez, ARNP, is a Certified Nurse Midwife at the MultiCare Women’s Health & Wellness Center in Gig Harbor. In addition to obstetrics, she provides annual exams, women’s wellness, birth control, and has a special interest in adolescent care, while incorporating health and wellness coaching into her practice. Learn more about MultiCare’s nurse midwifery services.

Posted in: Women's Health

About The Author

Jodee Gutierrez, ARNP, Certified Nurse Midwife
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