Northwest Hospital’s experienced midwives will be your guide through the life-changing experience of becoming a mother and growing a family. Women who work with us are looking for a rich experience during their pregnancy and birth, and they find the process deeply satisfying. We provide complete care throughout your pregnancy, including prenatal care, labor, birth and postpartum follow-up, including care for your newborn in the hospital. We also specialize in patient education, providing instruction in mother and infant care, nutrition, exercise and breastfeeding.
We specialize in patient education, providing instruction in nutrition, exercise, breastfeeding and infant care. We can help parents-to-be with family-related issues, such as introducing siblings to a new baby and what to expect during the first few weeks at home with a newborn. We take the time to listen to your concerns and questions, share information and knowledge, and offer you the support and tools you need.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
Midwives are health care providers who specialize in assisting normal, uncomplicated births. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP), with graduate degrees in nurse-midwifery and who have passed a national certification exam. Midwives are present during the pregnancy and birth process, including prenatal care and education, labor and delivery, and post-partum care. Certified nurse-midwifes are authorized to write prescriptions and can order pain medications, including an epidural, if that is your plan. Most of our clients go through their entire pregnancy, birth, and postpartum without needing to see an obstetrician. But, those who need specialized physician care for medical complications or emergent events, receive appropriate consultations or even transfer of care when indicated.
Our services include:
In addition to attending women during pregnancy and birth, we manage gynecologic care for women of childbearing age — teen years through age 45. Our focus is on the whole person, not just physical well-being. We strongly believe in empowering women to take charge of their health and education regarding current medical treatments as well as alternative therapies. If additional services are needed, we have access to a large network of highly qualified specialists through UW Medicine. Most importantly, we offer gentle, sensitive care and take time to get to know you.
In addition to pregnancy care, our women’s health services include:
- Annual exams and management of basic primary care problems
- Pap smears (colposcopy referral, if needed)
- Vaginal infections (yeast, bacterial vaginosis), screening and treatment
- Contraception counseling and management, including: pills, IUDs or intrauterine devices, vaginal ring, transdermal patch, skin implant, barrier methods (diaphragm, condoms, etc.), and fertility awareness.
- Sexually transmitted infections: screening and treatment
- Pre-conception counseling
- Menstrual issues
On your first prenatal visit, the midwife will gather a detailed history, including information about your health and your family’s health. She will perform a thorough physical exam, including a Pap smear if needed, possibly a blood draw, and listen to your baby’s heartbeat. We will also discuss the prenatal genetic tests available to you.
Initially, your prenatal visits will occur once a month, then every two weeks from 28 weeks on and weekly starting at 36 weeks. Extra visits may be needed for any problems that come up. We typically do blood tests early on and at least one ultrasound. You might also have special tests, such as genetic screening during your pregnancy. Your midwife will always discuss these tests with you and answer questions.
It is important to us to get to know you and your family and to listen to your feelings and expectations about your pregnancy and birth. At your prenatal visits, we will talk with you about your baby’s development, the labor and delivery experience, family changes, sexuality, employment, school or any other concerns related to your pregnancy. You are welcome to bring your partner or other family members or support people to visits as you prefer.
Your partner, family members, and older children are invited to come to your prenatal visits.
Our goal is to help you have a safe, satisfying and memorable labor and birthing experience, which can include a wide range of options. Our clients give birth at the Northwest Hospital Childbirth Center, which provides a comfortable and welcoming environment for your baby’s birth.
During labor, your midwife will help you follow your birth plan as closely as possible. Special comfort measures we provide may include positions, movement, massage, music, aromatherapy, labor tub, etc. One of us will be with you throughout your labor and your baby’s birth, along with our supportive labor and delivery nurses and staff. Anesthesiologists are on call 24 hours a day if you wish to include an epidural in your birth plan. We also encourage you to invite anyone you believe can provide support to you in your labor or people you would like to have present at the baby’s birth, such as family, friends, or a doula.
We may refer women with significant health problems or high-risk pregnancies to obstetricians before their birth. If complex problems arise during the birth, the hospital’s obstetricians, neonatologists, and obstetric anesthesiologists are available around the clock to partner with us in your care as needed.
If a cesarean birth is needed, your midwife will usually assist the obstetrician during the surgery, as well as continuing to provide you with physical and emotional support.
After an uncomplicated birth, most women and their newborns stay in the hospital for 24-48 hours. The stay may be extended if complications arise. We will tailor a plan to meet the needs of you and your baby.
We understand that the time following a baby’s birth can be both joyful and challenging for new parents and their families. We follow mothers and families closely after each birth to help with breastfeeding and postpartum recovery and family adjustment. We can identify and address any problems that may arise with breastfeeding or mood issues such as depression and anxiety. We help to provide initial newborn exams, screening tests, vaccinations, and arrange follow up care.
We see all new mothers at about two weeks following the birth, and all mothers at 6 weeks postpartum for a full exam. We also provide a wide range of contraception options.
You may find more information on newborn care at the Northwest Hospital Childbirth Center.