Brittney Edwards, Marketing Coordinator
Brittney.Edwards@frontier.edu • (859) 899-2515
Busting Midwifery Myths:
Frontier Nursing Unviersity Gives the Facts on This Growing, Viable Healthcare Option
LEXINGTON, KY – Model moms are believers. PBS has a series dedicated to the practice. The Mayo Clinic reports positions in the field have grown exponentially in the last two decades. We’re talking about midwifery. And, as with any thriving industry, there are associated myths that need to be busted.
The group to bust those myths is Frontier Nursing University. Celebrating 75 years in 2014, Frontier has the longest continually-operating and largest nurse-midwifery program in the nation. “Frontier is changing the face of healthcare in the United States and is validating midwifery as a viable, healthy option for moms and families,” says Frontier Nursing’s President Dr. Susan Stone. “With the largest class to date graduating this fall, we are at the forefront of consumer interest in midwifery. Our education is comprehensive so that graduates take the facts on midwifery into communities around the world.”
With Frontier graduates working in all 50 states and around the globe, the demand for midwifery is clear:
- About 12% of vaginal deliveries in the United States are attended by nurse-midwives. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- The National Birth Center Study II found that fewer than one in 16 (6%) of women who gave birth in a free-standing birth center staffed by nurse-midwives required a cesarean birth compared to nearly one in four (24%) similarly low-risk women cared for in a hospital setting.
- The U.S. Department of Labor reports the job outlook for nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners is 31% growth from 2012-22, which the department cites as “much faster than average.” The reports also cites that growth will occur primarily because of the effects of healthcare legislation, an increased emphasis on preventative care, and demand from the aging baby-boomer population for healthcare services as they live longer and more active lives than previous generations.
“The growth in the field of nurse-midwifery is due, in part, to the culture of collaboration nurse-midwives have with physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers to provide safe options for women,” adds Dr. Stone. That culture of collaboration leads us to the first myth….
Myth: Nurse-midwives can't attend births in hospitals.
Fact: Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) practice in many settings, including hospitals, medical offices, free-standing birth centers, clinics, and private homes. Because they are dedicated to one-on-one care, many practice in more than one setting to help ensure that women have access to the range of services they need or desire and to allow for specific health considerations.
Midwifery care fits particularly well with the services provided by OB/GYNs. By working collaboratively with OB/GYNs, CNMs can ensure that a specialist is available if a high-risk condition should arise. Likewise, many OB/GYN practices work with CNMs who specialize in care for women through normal, healthy life events.
Myth: There’s no pain medicine if you use a nurse-midwife for your birth.
Fact: CNMs partner with families on making decisions around pain-relief techniques. “Whether the mom wishes to use methods such as relaxation techniques or movement during labor; or epidural, or other pain medications; a CNM will help meet their desired approach,” comments Dr. Stone. “At the same time, they provide information and resources about the different options and choices available should any changes to the birth plan become necessary.”
Births overseen by CNMs usually have less intervention – such as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, and episiotomies – often with better outcomes for women and their babies. “Scheduling a labor induction or a cesarean birth without a clear reason is not supported by evidence-based research and can often lead to unwanted problems,” adds Dr. Stone. “However, when a medical procedure is necessary, a CNM will work to ensure that the woman has all the information needed to make an informed decision about the plan of care.”
Myth: Insurance does not cover midwifery services.
Fact: Thirty-three states require private insurance companies to pay for services provided by CNMs and Medicaid coverage for CNMs is required in all states. In states that do not require private insurance coverage, many insurance plans still cover CNM services.
Myth: The level of education for nurse-midwives is lacking.
Fact: There are many different types of midwives, each holding different certifications based on their education and/or experience. CNMs have a master’s and/or doctoral degree. CNMs are licensed in all 50 states. The licensing provides the authority to perform examinations, order lab tests, attend births and prescribe medications. This chart from Midwife.org is a great resource to see the level of education in the midwifery field.
Today’s midwives also come from all walks of life. Some earned their midwifery degree immediately after graduating from college, while others are former teachers, writers, missionaries, and general practice nurses. All nurse-midwives begin their education as a registered nurse.
Myth: Men can’t be nurse-midwives.
Fact: Midwife means "with woman," not "a female provider." The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports approximately 2% of CNMs are men.
Myth: You only need the services of a nurse-midwife during pregnancy.
Fact: CNMs provide primary health care services to women and families in all stages of life, from the teenage years through menopause. These services include not only caring for women during pregnancy but also general health check-ups; gynecologic care; and prescribing medications, including all forms of pain control medications and birth control. Nurse-midwives also care for newborns in the first month of life.
Another great benefit to working with CNMs is their holistic approach to wellbeing. “In general, they will spend more time answering all questions and help you learn about the physical and emotional changes you may experience while preparing for your expanding family or with your general care,” comments Dr. Stone.
About Frontier Nursing University
For 75 years, Frontier Nursing University, with its heart in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, has educated nursing and midwifery leaders who have touched the lives of children and families across the nation and around the globe. Our master’s and doctoral programs educate nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners in the primary care of women and families with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations. By utilizing distance-learning methods, Frontier makes graduate-level education accessible to nurses in all areas, and ultimately fosters accessibility to quality healthcare by graduating advanced-practice providers to work in underserved communities. Learn more: www.Frontier.edu and www.PioneersForHealthcare.org
A very special thank you to our 75th anniversary supporters:
Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Impressions Inc., Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Neace Lukens