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Midwifery: Certified nurse-midwives

A woman’s health journey, including pregnancy, labor and delivery, is beautiful but can be nerve-wracking. Certified nurse-midwives guide you through it.

Have you ever wondered what the term “midwife” means? Beacon’s certified nurse-midwife Heather Hostetler explains. “Midwife means ‘with women.’ Our role allows us to connect with women during a crucial, life-changing moment.”

Certified nurse-midwives are advanced practice, licensed health care professionals who specialize in women’s reproductive health, including certain primary care. CNMs focus on pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care. But they do so much more than medicine – they give compassion and emotional support in patients’ brightest and darkest moments.

What do CNMs do?

To put it simply, Heather says, “We provide education, care, comfort – all while practicing evidence-based medicine.”

The CNM model of care leads to better connections – and better outcomes. “My role provides me an opportunity to connect with and empower women in their health care needs and decisions. We build relationships with patients and follow them throughout their lifespan,” says Heather. “Research has shown that midwifery care has lower rates of cesarean section, lacerations, episiotomies and epidural usage.”

But CNMs provide more than maternity care, and they do it for women throughout their lifespan, from adolescence to beyond menopause.

“Although we specialize in pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum, we also provide routine gynecologic exams, including Pap smears and STD testing and treatment, family planning and contraception counseling, initiation and management.”

Beacon CNMs also connect you to pediatricians before your child is even born. After your child is born, they can refer you to pediatric specialists, including pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists, sleep specialists, endocrinologists, behavior and development specialists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, child psychologists, pediatric dietitians and more.

Why should I see a Beacon CNM?

Beacon provides maternity care from start to finish in certified Level I, II and III maternity centers. This sets Beacon apart. While the midwifery model of care approaches pregnancy and birth as normal, healthy events, our CNMs have the resources to collaborate with OB-GYNs, maternal-fetal medicine physicians and neonatologists if the need arises.

These specialized consultations with Beacon providers, along with the continued support of your midwife, ensure shared decision-making and support throughout your journey. Our CNMs empower you and guide you through the delivery you want while still having access to advanced resources.  

“We pride ourselves on patient-centered care and allow the woman to be an active participant in the decision making for her health and wellness.”

What education do CNMs receive?

Doing all of this requires dedication to learning. Midwifery manager Deanne Kwieran explains the rigorous education process for CNMs. “It can take up to eight years to become a CNM: four years for a bachelor’s degree, one year of nursing experience and three years in a nurse-midwifery program.” In addition, CNMs complete 600 hours of clinical, hands-on training outside the classroom. 

Where do CNMs work?

To provide this diverse range of services, CNMs work in inpatient and outpatient settings. They see patients in the office for regular visits and admit and discharge patients from the hospital before and after delivery. Working inpatient and outpatient further connects these experts to physicians and resources that better ensure your care.

And it’s all to protect what matters most: your health and your new bundle of joy.