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Midwifery Services

Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital is proud to offer midwifery services as part of its mother-baby medical care. Our certified nurse midwives (CNM) on staff see patients 13 years and older.  CNM's provide individualized and holistic women’s health, and maternity care, including:

  • gynecological care
  • birth control counseling
  • prenatal care
  • labor and delivery support and management
  • postpartum care

Prenatal, Labor & Delivery and Postpartum Care

Certified nurse midwives support low- to moderate-risk expectant moms as they prepare for motherhood, while offering individualized care plans that best address their needs. Every patient is unique, so a certified nurse midwife will prioritizes getting to know each patient, providing guidance and support with the least amount of intervention that’s medically necessary.

At Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, midwifery patients have access to all the amenities offered in the Mother Baby Unit, including comfortable, private labor and delivery suites; labor support resources such as birthing balls, birthing stools and squat bars; pain management options; etc. Our certified nurse midwives oversee their patients’ labor and deliveries with the support of our obstetricians, who are on-call and available, as needed.

Comprehensive Health Care Services for Women

In addition to providing prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum services, a certified nurse midwife cares for female patients 13 years and older, in all phases of their lives and health care journeys, providing patients with an array of comprehensive health care services, including:

  • Routine wellness exams
  • Pelvic and breast exams
  • Family planning counseling
  • Contraceptive counseling (including intrauterine devices)

A Brief History of Midwifery

Midwifery is not a new concept – there are references to midwives in ancient Greek and Roman texts as well as in the Bible. The midwife profession has been around for hundreds of years, starting in the seventeenth century.

In many wealthy, industrialized countries – the United Kingdom (including the Royal Family) and Sweden – midwives remain very popular, attending most labor and deliveries. Midwifery was also popular in the U.S. until the demand for these services dwindled in the early 1900’s.

Then, in the 1970’s, midwifery experienced a resurgence in the U.S. as more women wanted more natural childbirth experiences. It was also during this time that nurse-midwives helped introduce certain maternity care concepts that remain popular today, including:

  • Family-centered maternity care which allowed fathers in the delivery room,
  • Developing childbirth education to help prepare expectant parents for labor and delivery
  • Promoting mother-baby rooming, where the baby stays with the mother after delivery instead of staying in a separate nursery
  • Promoting the benefits of breastfeeding when most hospitals were pushing the convenience of formula

The midwifery field has evolved significantly in recent years. Today’s certified nurse midwives are highly educated, specialized health care professionals, who provide comprehensive medical services for women. In addition to prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care, certified nurse midwives offer gynecological examinations, wellness checkups, contraceptive counseling, prescriptions, and in some cases, pediatric care. 

Midwifery FAQs

Despite a long, established history in the medical field, several misconceptions about midwifery persist today. Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) about certified nurse midwives and their capabilities, which you may find helpful as you explore your health care provider options.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives undergo any formal education or training?

A. Yes. A certified nurse midwife must be trained and licensed in both nursing and midwifery. For eligibility, they require a BSN (Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing) from an accredited institution and an advanced degree (Master’s degree) in Midwifery. Certified nurse midwives are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), where they take their original test and complete continuing education to maintain their certification.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives only focus on pregnancy, labor and delivery?

A. No. Certified nurse midwives also provide comprehensive women’s health care services, including routine wellness exams, pelvic and breast exams, family planning counseling, birth control, prenatal care, labor and delivery support, and postpartum care.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives only work with low-risk pregnancies?

A. No. At Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, our certified nurse midwives support low- to moderate-risk pregnancies. This includes patients who have diet-controlled gestational diabetes; high blood pressure; and fetal growth restrictions. They collaborate with the obstetricians at the hospital and other maternal fetal medicine specialists as needed.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives support using pain medication during labor?

A. Yes. If a laboring mother opts to use pain medication to alleviate some of her labor pain, her certified nurse midwife will support that request. Midwives also recommend other methods for pain relief during pregnancy and labor and delivery, including certain exercises, stretches and position changes.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives allow for inductions?

A. Yes. If a patient wishes to have an elective induction of labor at 39 weeks, has medical reasons, and/or is more than one week past her due date, then a certified nurse midwife will support an induction of labor.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives work with obstetricians or physicians at the hospital?

A. Yes. Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital always has a physician on call with our certified nurse midwives so that if there’s a change or complication during a patient’s labor and delivery, the physician is available for consultations or a C-section, if necessary.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives perform c-sections?

A. No. However, if a laboring patient ends up needing a C-section, the certified nurse midwife will often accompany her patient into the operating room, continuing to offer  support.

Q. Do certified nurse midwives perform vaginal birth after caesareans (VBACs)?

A. Certified nurse midwives can assist an expectant mom pursuing a VBAC, if she qualifies for a VBAC based on certain criteria. However, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, along with many other hospitals, do not offer VBACs due to the increased risks and staffing required. If one of our expectant patients desires a potential VBAC at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, our providers can facilitate this referral and transfer of care in pregnancy. Otherwise, the patient can undergo a repeat C-section in Sullivan.

For more information about the midwifery services at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital or to make an appointment with Jessica Eakins, CNM please call (573) 860-6000.

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 800.392.0936
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