The essence of midwifery care is to promote physiologic birth, recognizing when interventions may be necessary and fostering shared decision-making with patients.
At Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital, our certified nurse midwife program brings this care into the hospital, an enhancement to the Acadiana region’s largest OB-GYN team. Our program began in 2022, bringing in-hospital midwifery care to an area that has not had it before.
Certified nurse midwives Mary Jazayeri, WHNP, CNM, and Katherine Greene, CNM, explain how hospital-based certified nurse midwives offer the best of both worlds: recognizing that pregnancy and childbirth are normal, physiological processes and having physician backup close at hand for times when labor and delivery don’t go as expected.
Certified nurse midwives are advanced practitioners, registered nurses who successfully completed a national certification exam after graduating from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Our CNMs provide prenatal care, care during labor and delivery, and postpartum care.
Low Intervention, High-Touch Care
Birth is a miracle that never gets old for Greene and Jazayeri, who have been delivering babies for decades. Allowing labor and birth to unfold naturally and physiologically leads to optimal outcomes for mother and baby, but care from a CNM is not limited to only low-risk patients or only to those moms who want an unmedicated birth.
“Most of our patients currently end up choosing to have an epidural,” Greene says. “We’re also not restricted to only low-risk patients. We can work with patients with some risk, and we co-manage with either a high-risk specialist or in the hospital with an OB.”
Working with a CNM doesn’t preclude the use of pain medication or an induction if medically necessary. They support all moms, even those who want an epidural or end up with a C-section. Jazayeri is certified to assist in the operating room.
“Midwifery is just another option of how to have healthcare and prenatal care,” Jazayeri says. Moms may cut themselves short by thinking midwifery care has to equal pain. “While we promote natural birth, we provide care far beyond that.”
Active Listening Leads to Better Care
One of the biggest benefits of receiving healthcare from a certified nurse midwife is the amount of time they can spend with their patients. That time investment means patients have a better understanding of what to expect during labor and delivery.
“We are able to do a lot more health teaching,” Jazayeri says. “It starts with prenatal care, and that’s where we excel.”
Patients get to know Greene and Jazayeri well when they choose them. “I know my patients, and sometimes on a very personal level they know us,” Jazayeri says. “Establishing that interaction is important, creating trust.”
Building those strong provider-patient relationships starts with listening, which is a vital skill for all healthcare providers, including midwives.
“The heart of midwifery care is a deep, trusting relationship,” Greene says. “In order to know and trust her provider a woman needs to feel heard. Being able to hear women and be present with them is essential.”
“The midwife approach relies heavily on a partnership with our patients,” Greens says. “We embody shared decision-making. Our patients feel heard and respected, and they are the ultimate decisionmakers driving their care.”
“We listen to what our patients want and what their goals are,” Jazayeri says. While everyone’s ultimate goal is a healthy mom and baby how mom wants to achieve that goal is extremely important, and listening is the way to understand what she wants and needs.
Another benefit of choosing a certified nurse midwife for your maternity care is the follow-up after birth. Because of the established trust and relationship, any issues can be addressed quickly.
They support breastfeeding and offer lactation support in their clinic, and moms understand what to expect because of the health teaching they receive as part of their prenatal care.
Advice for Expecting Moms
When it comes to choosing care, Greene and Jazayeri have advice for expecting moms.
“They should feel very comfortable and confident with the people they choose to be caring for them and the people they choose to be present with them during labor and birth,” Greene says. “They should always feel comfortable asking the question: ‘Is this necessary?’”
Jazayeri sees the CNM program at Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital as a refreshing way to look at prenatal care. “We provide a wonderful service in the Acadiana area, and I’d encourage moms not to limit themselves. The care we provide would benefit a lot of people.”
Whether you have your birth plan determined or need help understanding your delivery options, we’re here for you through all maternity. Your pregnancy journey is unique, and we’re honored to support you along the way. We’ve curated The Ultimate Pregnancy Resource Guide to help you prepare for the big day — the birth of your baby! Download it here.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about your hopes for labor and delivery. They can help you to develop a plan for managing your health through all maternity. And if you’re in Acadiana, consider receiving your care from our certified nurse midwives.