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Midwives to Offer Alternative Care

Midwifery derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon, mid, “with,” and wyf, “woman.” In medical schools prior to the 20th century, “obstetrics” was known as “midwifery.” Today’s certified nurse-midwives are advanced practitioners, certified by the state of Missouri and the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Meritas Health Pavilion for Women will be the first practice in the Northland to add these mid-level professionals. As the national trend moves toward physiologic birth with less medical intervention – but in a hospital setting and with the medical safety net of physician collaboration – the timing is right for this expansion of services. “Nurse-midwives and the competent and compassionate care they provide is an extension in the birthing choices we offer,” says Michelle Daniels, MD, with Meritas Health Pavilion for Women.

Certified nurse-midwives differ from lay midwifes in that they:

  • practice and deliver only in a medical office or hospital setting 
  • are state certified 
  • must maintain CME
  • always work with a collaborating physician 
  • handle only routine, vaginal deliveries 
  • do not handle high risk or operative cases or deliveries involving forceps or vacuums

Michelle Daniels, MD

Collaborating Physician

Additionally, collaborating physicians must review each patient chart. If risk factors are identified, the patient is transferred to the direct care of a physician. Dr. Daniel’s practice reports that patients already ask about midwife services. “Many patients seek the medical care of a professional who can dedicate more time and attention to their delivery experience and help create a family atmosphere. It’s an extension of our patient care options,” Dr. Daniels reports.

National Trend

Dr. Daniels estimates that at least 50% of births supervised by Meritas Health Pavilion for Women would be eligible for midwifery oversight. “It’s all about the patient’s choice and what is medically and philosophically right for her. Eligible patients can choose to be seen mainly by a midwife or by a physician,” she adds.  The midwife trend is already popular in other cities across the nation and has made inroads in south Kansas City. Now Northlanders will have the midwife option.

The “let nature take its course” philosophy follows current medical thinking. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology is pushing for more natural birthing methods and increased the time allotted for each stage of labor. Mother Nature is on her own time frame and nurse-midwives help fill the time demanded from medical practitioners. In addition to current medical treatments and pharmaceuticals, they also offer alternatives to traditional pain control options and a more mind/body experience.  

Preventive Care

Nurse-midwives also participate in comprehensive women’s healthcare, such as preventive care, education, well-woman exams, pregnancy management and deliveries.

“The benefit to patients and their PCPs, is more access to providers. Nurse-midwives offer more bed-side care and allow physicians to concentrate on the high-risk cases. It benefits everyone,” say Dr. Daniels. 

Meritas Health Pavilion for Women plans to offer nurse-midwife services this summer. It will physically enlarge the practice to accommodate the additional staff but no additional birthing equipment will be added at North Kansas City Hospital. 

To learn more, call 816.452.3300.