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Healthy You

All About Midwives

July 8, 2020 2:00 PM with NorthShore Medical Group Midwives

Certified Nurse Midwives are Advanced Practice Nurses who provide obstetric and gynecology care to women from adolescence through menopause.  Many women select a nurse midwife for their pregnancy and birth.  NorthShore’s Gina Russano, CNM, APN, MS and Donna Warder, DNP, MS, CNM, FNP-BC team up for this chat answering all your questions about what a midwife can do for you.

Both are midwives, but with different specialties.  Gina Russano teams with physicians who focus on high-risk pregnancies whereas Donna focuses on women who are seeking traditional midwifery care.

Baby boy

- 12:51 PM:

NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore) - 1:48 PM:
Midwives Gina Russano and Donna Warder are here to answer your questions.

Ben (Moderator) - 1:49 PM:
We are going to get started here in about 10 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions now so we have them ready for our team.

  Billi (Evanston, IL) - 2:00 PM:
How is a midwife different from a regular doctor or nurse?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (Northshore)
A nurse midwife began as a registered nurse and has completed an advanced degree and clinical training (either doctoral or masters) and is trained to take care of women across the lifespan, during pregnancy, and can deliver babies vaginally. Nurse midwives are also trained to care for women for routine gynecologic issues, birth control, breast health, wellness care, and menopause. Midwives do not typically perform surgeries. Midwives typically focus on health, wellness, and preventative care. An OB/GYN physician has gone through medical school and provides both obstetric and gynecologic care for both low and high-risk women. They also perform surgeries such cesarean section deliveries and gynecologic surgery.

  Jeremy (Chicago, IL) - 2:07 PM:
What other conditions is a midwife a good alternative to a traditional OB/GYN?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (Northshore)
The word midwife means "with woman." During routine prenatal care, a midwife elicits a woman's goals and plans for her own pregnancy and birth and tries to help build a plan to reach those goals. A midwife helps to empower women to make their own informed choices about their care during pregnancy and delivery and beyond. Outside of pregnancy, midwives do lactation support, annual exams including PAP smears, order screening tests such as labs and mammograms, prescribe birth control, provide family planning advice, and treat common women's health problems. A midwife's strong emphasis on patient education can help a woman understand their health and understand their own wellness/disease process.

  Anna (Naperville, IL) - 2:15 PM:
If you choose to work with a midwife, are you still seeing your OB/GYN for regular pregnancy care? If so, how do you all work together for delivery and postnatal care?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
Different Provider Groups organize themselves differently. Some groups (such as the group at Swedish Hospital part of NorthShore) are made up of only nurse midwives but collaborate with Ob/Gyn physicians for complications that may come up during pregnancy and birth. Other groups, such as the Medical Group in the North Pod of NorthShore (Highland Park Hospital) that Donna Warder, APRN, CNM has recently joined, is an interdisciplinary team. This Group consists of physicians and a nurse midwife. Patients will see both the physicians and the nurse midwife over the course of their pregnancy and delivery.

  Mindy (Skokie, IL) - 2:22 PM:
Will I be able to have pain medication for the delivery?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
Yes! The decision to have a nurse midwife or Ob/Gyn physician is separate from the decision about having or not having pain relief during labor and birth. A nurse midwife can attend a birth with or without medical pain relief such as an epidural or nitrous oxide. Nurse midwives use many non-medication pain relief techniques as well, including hands-on labor support, heat/cold, massage, position changes, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, emotional support, and guided imagery.

  Rachel (Skokie, IL) - 2:29 PM:
Can women with conditions like hypertension or gestational diabetes still receive care with the North Shore midwives?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
There are times when medical conditions arise unexpectedly. The North Pod Ob/Gyn/CNM group with NorthShore manages gestational diabetes in collaboration with an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist). Hypertension is oftentimes co-managed by the Ob/Gyn and CNM. In special circumstances where hypertension or preexisting diabetes are difficult to control, Ob/Gyns and Nurse Midwives refer to the high-risk obstetric specialists in the Maternal Fetal Medicine Group at Evanston Hospital where Gina Russano, CNM works.

  Stacy (Chicago, IL) - 2:36 PM:
What if there is an emergency with my delivery? Will there be a doctor?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
Nurse Midwives who deliver in the NorthShore University Healthsystem, always collaborate with an Obstetrician who is capable of performing cesarean births or assist in a complicated vaginal delivery.

  Annette (Chicago, IL) - 2:40 PM:
I have been seeing an OB for my prenatal care (I am 35 weeks pregnant) and am planning to deliver at Evanston hospital. Will I see a midwife at the hospital? Or will it only be nurses and OBs?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
Evanston Hospital provides a multidisciplinary team for every woman in labor. This team consists of obstetric residents, nurse midwives, nurses, as well as the physician from your own prenatal group. It is possible that a nurse midwife will do your initial admission exam prior to calling your attending physician to update them on how you and your baby are doing.

  Shami (Evanston, IL) - 2:44 PM:
Why would I choose a midwife over a doula?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
A Certified Nurse Midwife and a doula perform different but complementary roles. A Certified Nurse Midwife is licensed in the State of IL to provide prenatal care and attend vaginal births. A doula is a person you may choose to hire to provide additional labor support during your labor. Some doulas also provide lactation and postpartum support in your home. A doula is not licensed or trained to deliver babies or perform prenatal care. Many women who choose to receive care with a Certified Nurse Midwife also choose to hire a doula.

  Anna (Crystal Lake, IL) - 2:49 PM:
What is the best way to select a midwife?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
I would start by choosing the place you would like to give birth. Then investigate what Nurse Midwives provide services in that location. Many Nurse Midwives can offer a Meet and Greet visit where you can ask questions about the general philosophy of care and figure out if a Nurse Midwife is a good match for you.

  Jennifer (Chicago, IL) - 2:53 PM:
If a midwife is not a doctor, do I have to deliver my baby at home?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
The majority of Nurse Midwives in Illinois deliver in hospitals. There are some Nurse Midwives who deliver in freestanding birth centers or in your home. The NorthShore nurse midwives attend births only in the hospital.

  Sue (Skokie, IL) - 2:55 PM:
Why would a person choose to have a midwife involved with their delivery, in addition to or instead of a regular doctor?
NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore)
There are many reasons a woman may choose a Nurse Midwife for her care. One being that Nurse Midwives often specialize in low intervention birth and many women seeking that type of care may choose a midwife.

Ben (Moderator) - 3:00 PM:
That's all the time we have today for questions. Thank you to our midwives for your time and expertise!

NorthShore Medical Group Midwives (NorthShore) - 3:03 PM:
Thank you to everyone who participated today. We hope you learned a lot about Nurse Midwifery care at NorthShore.
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