A new study found pregnant women who have a midwife are more comfortable asking those burning questions that they otherwise may shy away from asking traditional doctors.

Given the reported increased communication between women and their midwives, the University of Minnesota researchers suggested midwifery care may be better for low-risk pregnancies.

Samantha Busch, wife of stock car driver Kyle Busch, decided a midwife was best for her. The couple chose Barbara Metzelaars, a nurse midwife affiliated with Novant Health Huntersville Obstetrics and Gynecology in Denver, North Carolina.

“I just felt that midwives overall were a bit more open to the concept of natural practices and there was the ability to form more of a bond, which was what I wanted,” Busch said. “I think OB-GYNs are fantastic, too. But, when I first met my midwife, we just had a natural connection and I knew I wanted to go through my pregnancy with her.”

Certified nurse midwives are health care professionals who are trained in both nursing and midwifery. They are licensed by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

To be certified, one must obtain a master’s degree and be formally educated in midwifery through an accredited program affiliated with an institution of higher learning, demonstrate clinical competence and pass a rigorous national certifying exam.

Certified nurse midwives specialize in prenatal care, family planning, menstrual disorders, menopause and other gynecological needs. In addition, they often offer longer appointment times, and labor and emotional support, focusing on wellness and helping patients make informed choices.

Research shows women may have a higher comfort level in communicating with their midwives. Of the 2,400 women included in the University of Minnesota survey, 30 percent of the women said they held back questions from their physician because they felt rushed compared to 24 percent of women who saw midwives.

And, more women said they held back questions because they didn’t want to be difficult – 24 percent who saw physicians versus 14 percent who had midwives.

Samantha Busch said she has appreciated her nurse midwife’s openness and attentive care.

“From the way she explained her delivery process to all the time she took to answer my questions and send me information on things she found important, both Kyle and I felt very comfortable with her,” Samantha Busch said of Metzelaars.

Metzelaars will deliver the Busches’ son in May. She said she encourages her patients to deliver at the hospital in case a specialist is needed. “Seconds count if there’s an emergency,” she said.

More women are using nurse midwives and opting for natural childbirth, with limited medical intervention, no epidurals and no C-sections. In 2012, certified nurse midwives and certified midwives attended almost 8 percent of all births nationwide.  

“Midwives are a great option for women looking for a personalized model of care,” Metzelaars said. “We work closely with each patient to provide thorough support to mom and baby throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery.”

To meet the growing need, Novant Health recently opened new midwifery clinics in Huntersville, North Carolina, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Novant Health Nurse Midwifery Associates Langtree in Huntersville is temporarily located at 10030 Gilead Road in Suite 250. Novant Health Midwifery Associates is at 150 Charlois Blvd., Suite 100, in Winston-Salem.

Both clinics are accepting new patients. Babies are delivered at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, respectively.

Is a midwife a good fit for you?

Midwives annually support more than 300,000 pregnant women across the country, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Here are some things to consider if you think you may want a midwife:

  • Do you prefer a vaginal birth? Midwives support the natural birthing process and generally believe in vaginal births with minimal technological interventions.
  • Is your pregnancy considered high-risk? There are various risk factors that can cause complications during pregnancy, including age, problems in past pregnancies, previous medical conditions, poor nutrition and smoking. High-risk pregnancies may require obstetrical attention.
  • What if you want pain medicine during labor? Midwives are able to prescribe medicine to alleviate pain, if you request it.

Childbirth is unpredictable — but thinking through your preferences ahead of time can make you feel more confident on the day of. Download out our birth preparation guide.