4 Common Myths about Nurse-Midwives

While many women are familiar with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) as a women’s health care provider, they may not know that midwifery services can also provide well-rounded care for women.

Myth 1: Midwifery doesn’t require higher education.

There are three types of midwives. Those with the highest level of training are Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM).

“A Certified Nurse-Midwife is a registered nurse who has a graduate level of education, either with a master’s degree or PhD, from an accredited midwifery program and has passed a national certification exam,” said Sameerah Shareef, CNM, at McLaren Greater Lansing.

A CNM is licensed to practice in their state and can prescribe most medications.

Myth 2: Midwives only support natural births.

The birthing process with a midwife can be as natural as the mom-to-be would like, but pain medications can be used. You can also change your mind along the way.

“We focus on helping women have a healthy pregnancy and supporting the process that their body goes through, so we spend a lot of time educating our patients and discussing their needs,” said Shareef. “A large part of our support services is to work with our patients with a variety of techniques that help them through the natural process of birth as comfortably as possible.”

Myth 3: Midwives only see patients for pregnancies and births.

While a CNM can care for women during their pregnancy journey, they also see women throughout their lifespan, from their adolescent years through menopause and beyond.

“We can provide much of the same care as OB-GYNs,” said Shareef. “This includes prenatal care, labor support, and labor pain management, as well as preconception and family planning to well-woman exams and primary care visits.”

They also provide women services for gynecologic care, cancer screenings, immunizations, menopause care, sexual health management, sexually transmitted infections, and contraception.

Myth 4: I can’t be under the care of a midwife if I am a high-risk patient.

This is dependent on the patient’s high-risk condition. In some cases, a transfer of care to an OB-GYN will be needed.

“I work in collaboration with our OB-GYNs for some patients who may be considered a higher risk,” said Shareef. “While we are here to support the needs of our patients, we’re also trained to know when there is something wrong and when patients need to see an OB-GYN.”

Shareef stresses that every woman is different and has individual needs, and midwives can help support their uniqueness in a holistic way.

“I help women understand how their body works and ways we can support our bodies in the best possible way for an overall healthy lifestyle,” said Shareef.

If you are considering midwifery care, you can schedule an appointment with Sameerah Shareef by calling (517) 975-1400. For a list of women’s health providers accepting new patients, click here.

To learn more about McLaren Greater Lansing’s Birthplace, click here.

For more articles on health and wellness, click here.