Midwifery is a long-established practice that has re-emerged in recent years among women looking for more holistic prenatal and postnatal care. Certified nurse midwives are licensed health care professionals trained in both nursing and midwifery. Contrary to popular belief, nurse midwives do more than deliver babies. They specialize in prenatal care, family planning, menopause and other gynecological needs. Women today are increasingly seeking care from midwives because many offer labor and emotional support as well as attentive care that involves the whole family.
Alexandria "Alex" Montgomery and Nona Smith – both certified nurse midwives at Novant Health – recently provided a glimpse into their typical day.
Alexandria Montgomery, DNP, CNM
Nona Smith, CNM, MSN
Each morning, Alex hops in her black SUV and cranks up the gospel music en route to the office. She carries that positive energy with her throughout the day. Her first charge on this particular day is to check in on a new mom and her baby boy, who arrived the day before at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center . Over the past six years, Alex has delivered more than 400 babies.
Back at her office, Alex greets Marisa Durstewitz, an expectant mother in her third trimester. During the visit, Alex asks Marisa how she’s feeling, measures her growing belly and checks to see if she’s had any concerns since their last visit. Her goal is to educate her patient on what to expect and on how to prepare for labor and delivery.
Midwifery is an ideal option for women who have a low risk for pregnancy complications. Nona has delivered more than 1,000 babies over the past 16 years. While she performs an ultrasound on a newly pregnant patient, she answers any questions the couple may have.
Nona checks the ultrasound images and provides her patients with snapshots of their baby.
Later in the morning, Alex meets with Cristina Rojas and her new daughter. “She knows me on a different level,” Cristina said of her experience with Alex. “She was my strength. She was my biggest encourager. She and my husband worked as a team and helped me bring my daughter into this world.”
Nurse midwives emphasize holistic care involving the entire family. After Cristina’s appointment, Alex catches up with Cristina’s mother, father and sister.
Novant Health certified nurse midwives encourage patients to deliver at the hospital in case a specialist is needed. “We collaborate as a team,” Alex said about working with physicians, who assist with more difficult births or in emergencies.
Nona meets with a family whose baby she recently delivered. Certified nurse midwives provide continuity of care for patients throughout their entire life cycle, including postpartum care.
“Every baby I deliver is like my own grandchild and a lot of these patients I work with I feel are like my own children,” Nona said. “It makes it really special.
Novant Health Midwifery Associates provides a personal touch even after delivery. The staff knits caps or blankets for babies to have something from the care team to take home.
Is a midwife right for you? Here are some tips to help you decide.