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A New Understanding of Midwifery Care

Pregnancy & Postpartum

October 7 – 13 is National Midwifery Week in the U.S. and a perfect time to raise awareness about midwifery care. Midwives offer excellent women-centered care but many folks have an incomplete understanding of what they do and where they do it. Did you know that in addition to maternity care, midwives also focus on primary care including annual check-ups/GYN exams, family planning and menopause care? Did you know that there are different types of midwives and some have hospital privileges and are authorized to issue written prescriptions? Or that midwives attend births mostly at hospitals (96.1%) but also at birth centers (2%) and in the home (1.8 %)?

Midwives have worked diligently to improve the quality of women's health care. A recent survey by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) includes the following disturbing findings:

  • Only 29% of women are talking about pain management during labor with their provider
  • 3 out of 4 women did not talk with a care provider about breastfeeding during their pregnancy
  • Only 23% of mothers discussed the risks and benefits of induction with their provider

Results from this new survey show a major gap in what women say they want from their health care and what they are actually getting. To improve the dialogue, the ACNM is proud to announce Our Moment of Truth™: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care. Through this national truth-telling campaign, ACNM aims to raise the bar for women's health and re-introduce midwives and midwifery care as important options that should be the norm for women's health care services in the United States. Midwifery care, with its lower intervention rates, is high quality care at less cost – the very same care that is proposed in the Affordable Care Act. Midwifery, an ancient art, is a modern day solution to our current health care woes.

Midwives typically spend more time with their patients and they have lower cesarean rates and lower induction rates compared to other health care providers. As of 2010, a graduate degree is required for entry to midwifery practice as a Certified Nurse-Midwife or a Certified Midwife. These are just a few truths about midwives. For more facts, visit Our Moment of Truth™.

Chris Just CNM, MSN
Executive Director, Prenatal Education
Isis Parenting

Chris Just, CNM, MSN is the Executive Director of Prenatal Education at Isis Parenting. She is responsible for creating and managing the prenatal education programs at Isis and is actively involved with hospital partnerships and community outreach. Chris is a certified nurse-midwife with over 20 years of maternity care experience in educational and clinical roles. She is co-creator of Mind Body Birth by Isis and a board member of MA Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies. Chris is also a member of the MA Special Legislative Commission on PPD Public Education sub-committee and a member of the MA Perinatal Quality Collaborative Educational/Communication sub-committee. Her focus is on increasing access to relevant, evidenced-based education through on-site and online education, scholarships, community classes and social media. A former Peace Corps Honduras volunteer, Chris is also dedicated to coordinating educational services for underserved populations. Chris received a MSN from Yale University and a BA from Middlebury College. She enjoys time with her husband, Jim, and they are proud parents of a young daughter and son.

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