The term midwife means “with woman”. Midwives are known for being present with women typically during labor and childbirth, but many people do not know that midwives are trained to care for women throughout the lifespan.
Historically and traditionally, women were present with other women during childbirth. This began to change when childbirth was moved into hospital institutions after Obstetrics as a medical practice began. Today, most midwives in the U.S. practice in hospitals, continuing to be with women during childbirth. Midwives have prescriptive authority, so YES, you can still get medications and/or an epidural with a midwife. And if you choose to have an unmedicated birth, the midwife is well trained on techniques to assist you.
The shortage of Obstetrical providers including midwives can be felt in many areas throughout NC, especially rural areas. I’m proud to say that I’m a graduate from ECU’s midwifery program, the only program for midwives in the state. I believe in the role of midwives in meeting the needs of the community. Eastern NC has such a gem in ECU, producing much of the midwifery care of NC and surrounding states.
Midwives typically function in a collaborative role with Obstetricians, working together as part of the healthcare team. This collaboration is essential in helping to reduce the cesarean rate, reducing infant and maternal mortality rates, and bridging the gap in healthcare. Midwives routinely are available for prenatal and postpartum care, annual exams, primary care, STI screening, Contraception and Gynecological evaluations.
As a midwife provider, and as a woman who has received midwifery care, my desire is to be with women, acting as an advocate and a bridge in helping them in meeting their healthcare needs. That may be in providing safe, professional and comfortable exams, or being in the labor room for one of the most monumental moments of a family’s life. It may be in providing education on contraceptive options or holding a hand when it’s needed. The role of a midwife isn’t defined by the task of the moment but by being present.
If you’d like to have a consult or schedule an appointment, call the Midwife, Sarah Sears, CNM at Greenville Women’s Care 252-757-3131.
If you would like to learn more about Midwives visit, http://www.midwife.org/