Bianca Weaver’s path to becoming a CNM seems destined given that her father is a high-risk maternal fetal specialist. “I grew up going to the hospital with my dad. He would take me into deliveries. I got a lot of really cool shadowing experiences growing up,” she says. “I knew that I really liked being there.”
“My job is to guide women through pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond.”
Prior to the 20th century, most women laboring to deliver babies didn’t have a physician by their side — they were attended by
midwives. While the practice fell out of popular favor for a time, more women in the low-risk pregnancy population are discovering that certified nurse midwives provide high-quality, personalized care. In response to this demand, Norton Healthcare provides certified nurse midwives for a personal experience but with the security of hospital care.
A low-risk pregnancy means “you have no complications in your health history that would impact your pregnancy, such as pre-existing hypertension, pre-existing diabetes, or morbid obesity,” says Bianca Weaver, advanced practical registered nurse and certified nurse midwife (CNM) at Advocates for Women’s Health, a part of Norton Healthcare. Women with such conditions are referred to ob/gyns and possibly other maternal care specialists.
While certified nurse midwives may seem like an obvious choice for women who want to experience natural childbirth, women who choose pain management, including epidurals, are not exempt from benefiting from midwifery care. Midwife care is also an option for low-risk women who want to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
Every expectant mother wants a safe birth above all else. The benefit of certified nurse midwife care is that CNMs work in
coordination with ob/gyns. If anything comes up that seems out of the ordinary, Bianca and her colleagues can contact their ob/gyn colleagues. Norton Healthcare also has an obstetrical hospitalist on site 24/7 who is immediately available. “We work closely with our backup doctors,” Bianca says. If a situation arises where a nurse midwife needs to transfer patient care, it is a seamless process.
During labor, birthing stools, inflatable birth tubs, wireless monitoring, and dopplers are the norm among midwife patients. “It brings that aspect of a birth center or home birth to the hospital but you have the safety net of the hospital,” she says.
A special benefit of midwife care is that Bianca and her CNM colleagues have a smaller patient volume than most ob/gyns which means they can be more present with patients, including during labor. “My job is to guide women through pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond,” she says.