Midwifery

Providence understands selecting a provider is a very personal choice, especially when it comes to delivering your children. The relationship created with your care provider throughout your prenatal and delivery experience can last a lifetime. That’s why Providence offers midwifery and obstetrics options to fit your personal care preferences.

Midwife services

Midwifery is a health care profession in which nurse practitioners offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labor and birth, and throughout their postpartum period. In addition, many midwives also provide well-woman care related to reproductive health, annual gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal care.

The midwives' model of care is based on the belief that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. They are nationally certified and licensed by the state. The midwife model of care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

Midwife services at Providence

Providence offers midwife services at:

All midwives throughout Providence-Oregon are board certified nurse practitioners specially trained and licensed in midwifery.

About midwife certification

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses (RNs) who have specialized post graduate education and midwifery training and certification. Nurse-midwives care for women before and after pregnancy, deliver babies in hospitals and in homes, provide family planning and birth control counseling, and provide gynecological services such as physical and breast exams, Pap smears, pelvic exams, and preventive health screening. They are qualified to order tests and prescribe medicines. Nurse-midwives are licensed by the state in which they practice. Most nurse-midwives are nationally certified in their specialty area.

A certified professional midwife (CPM) provides prenatal care for low-risk pregnancies and delivers babies in birthing centers and homes. After training and apprenticeship under an experienced midwife, a CPM takes a written test and a skills exam before being certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. A CPM may be affiliated with a doctor in case an emergency delivery occurs, but they are not supervised by a doctor. In some states, a certified professional midwife is called a licensed midwife. Experience, training, and medical backup for emergencies are important factors to consider when contracting the services of a CPM.

Lay midwives provide prenatal care and deliver babies outside of a traditional medical setting, such as in a birthing center or home. Lay midwife training consists of an apprenticeship with an experienced midwife, workshops, and classes. Because a lay midwife does not have professional medical training and is not licensed or certified, he or she may have limited ability and technology for handling complications or sudden emergencies. Experience, training, and medical backup for emergencies (having a physician that can be called for urgent needs and consultations) are important factors to consider when contracting the services of a lay midwife.

Ask An Expert

Ask an expert: Considering a midwife?

Midwives have facilitated childbirth for thousands of years and are a vital part of today’s modern health care delivery system. Yet many women are surprised to learn that they can choose a certified nurse-midwife and still have their baby in a hospital – with or without epidurals and other modern comforts.

Forms Instructions

Welcome guide – What to expect when delivering at Providence

It's natural to have questions about childbirth. Here is a list of frequently asked questions about delivering at Providence.

Maternity Welcome Guide

Congratulations! This is a very exciting time in your life. To help with your questions, this booklet will give information Providence services, childbirth and parenting classes, tips on selecting a physician for your baby, information on our breastfeeding clinics and more.

Prenatal appointment schedule for Portland midwife clinic

We care for you throughout your pregnancy. Click here to view the schedule for your prenatal visits with Providence Maternal Care Clinic.

Signs and Symptoms of Labor

Labor may occur as much as two weeks before or after your due date. This is normal. Your body has ways of telling you that it is preparing for labor.

Preparing for your delivery: Resources for new mothers and families

Ready to have your baby? Here's everything you'll need to prepare for delivery at a Providence hospital or medical center.

Proprietary Health Article

Providence midwives pair traditional practices with technology

Midwifery has long been an option for women wanting to deliver their babies with minimal medical intervention. Providence Health & Services has paired the personal support of midwifery with the modern comforts of a hospital since 1993.

Tapping into maternal instincts: Empowering women through midwifery

As a pregnant woman, you have options. You can see an obstetrician, a family medicine doctor or a midwife for pregnancy care. Sometimes, you may see a combination. So, how do you decide which choice is right for you? Lisa Chickadonz, a nurse-midwife with Providence Maternal Care Clinic, is a great source of perspective on the midwife experience. 

Recommended Resource

MyMidWife.org

The American College of Nurse-Midwives website provides information and personal stories about midwives and midwifery care available to women.

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