How today’s midwife is making maternity care safer

A certified nurse midwife can help mothers create their ultimate birth plans — from pre-pregnancy to post-delivery.

  • How midwives may help bring down maternity mortality rates.
  • What midwives do as partners in your pregnancy.
  • Learn the benefits of having a midwife.


“Birth is not a medical procedure but a natural process. We whole-heartedly support empowering women to create their ultimate birth experience,” says Kenneth James, MD, medical director of the midwifery program at Mission Hospital and at Laguna Beach OB/GYN.

So many moms-to-be dream of the ultimate birth experience. A certified nurse midwife can help mothers achieve that dream — from pre-pregnancy to post-delivery. In the process, the midwife provides collaborative care and builds strong relationships. These strong relationships not only include patient and midwife, they also include midwife and obstetrician (OB).

As more women choose to use midwife services, it reflects a shift in maternity care. It’s a shift that seems to be making a difference in pregnant women’s health and well-being.

Midwives may help bring down maternal mortality rates

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018 there was a total of 658 women who died of maternal causes in the United States. That’s a maternal mortality rate of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. The number goes up for women over 40 years old. 

But there’s also positive news that may help bring those numbers down. It’s partly found in a study published by the National Institutes of Health. The study shows that midwife-led care has been linked to a better maternal experience for healthy and at-risk populations. 

Collaboration among health professionals such as a certified nurse midwife and an OB can improve safety and quality for mothers and their babies.  Doctors and midwives complement each other to provide high-level care. 

Collaboration among health professionals such as a certified nurse midwife and an OB can improve safety and quality for mothers and their babies.  Doctors and midwives complement each other to provide high-level care. For instance, if emergency surgery is needed, the nurse midwife and doctor work together to see that the mother is cared for properly. 

Think of it as the best of both worlds.

Providence midwives: Partners in your pregnancy

In a recent interview, Providence Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Allison Molinksi discussed building relationships with lower-risk mothers-to-be. Like so many midwives, her goal is to, “take a holistic approach to well-woman care and childbirth.”

As a certified nurse midwife, Allison is trained and licensed in nursing and midwifery. A CNM will have a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from an accredited institution and a Master’s degree in midwifery. They’re certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Healthcare professionals like Allison can offer the same care as an OB. Their wide array of services includes: 

  • Well-woman exams 
  • Gynecological exams
  • Family planning
  • Prenatal care
  • Writing prescriptions
  • Newborn care

Depending on their certification and licensing, midwives can also help with nutrition, breastfeeding, contraception, fertility education and more.

The midwife’s goal: no or minimal interventions during childbirth

The midwife’s goal is to keep interventions to a minimum during labor. Yet, as Allison describes, being in a Providence hospital setting with the midwife also serves as a “safety net, allowing moms to stay in the hospital for any necessary interventions.”

Providence midwives like Allison work closely with Providence OBs. That way, if there are problems during labor or birth, they can consult with the doctor. But this doesn’t happen often. Many times, a woman who’s admitted for labor will have her baby without ever seeing a doctor. 

The benefits of having a midwife

According to Allison, the goal of Providence midwives is to empower women and provide a “supportive, positive and family-centered experience.” She also discusses that women who use a midwife usually want as little intervention as possible during labor and delivery. 

The American College of Nurse-Midwives describes some of the benefits you may receive by choosing midwifery care: 

  • Lower risk of needing a cesarean 
  • Fewer cases of inducing labor
  • Fewer instances of episiotomies
  • Fewer third- and fourth-degree perineal tears 
  • Better chances of starting breastfeeding positively
  • Greater satisfaction with the quality of care 

A “birth plan” is about your preferences

Allison describes the “birth plan” as being all about what you prefer for your pregnancy from the first exam to the final push. If you’d rather have fewer exams, dimmed lights in the birthing room or avoid inducing labor, the Providence midwife does all she can to make those things happen. 

Midwifery follows the idea of “physiologic birth.” That means the process of having a baby is powered by your ability to give birth naturally.

Midwifery follows the idea of “physiologic birth.” That means the process of having a baby is powered by your ability to give birth naturally. In the end, Alison and other Providence midwives want you to have a “transformative life experience” — one that’s safe for you and baby. 

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many new and unforeseeable risks, but please know that Providence is working closely with the CDC to ensure that all of our birthing centers are safe for our maternity patients. Learn more about the protective measures we’re taking in this article.


Find a midwife

You want to be sure the midwife you choose listens to you and cares about building a strong relationship with you and your family. Find a midwife in your area by searching under “midwifery” in our provider directory.






Related articles

Midwifery Suites Open at the Birth Center at Mission Hospital

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health

Future of Health: Midwifery

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Birth Center for You

American College of Nurse-Midwives

Do You Need a Midwife?

Are you thinking about choosing a midwife? Have you used a midwife in the past? Share your experiences @providence. #midwife

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Women's Health team is committed to providing useful and actionable insights, tips and advice to ensure women of all types can live their healthiest lives.

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