Midwifery Program

NurseMidwives

 

 

Midwifery Program at CHRISTUS Children’s Educates Empowers San Antonio Women


By Gloria Madera, Public Relations Manager for CHRISTUS Children’s

 

Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. Born out of necessity, midwives and the practice of midwifery can be traced back to 40,000 B.C., according to the International Confederation of Midwives.

 

As medicine evolved, so did the evolution of birth. Now, women are given more choices than ever on their birth plans, including who will assist them with their prenatal care and how.

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, there are about 14,000 midwives in the U.S., including those not in clinical practice.

 

While the traditional view of a midwife focused on births outside of a hospital setting, more hospitals and healthcare systems, including CHRISTUS Children’s, are now adopting midwifery programs “Here’s my chance to be able to change the culture of San Antonio to make women want to be responsible for their care, to be advocates of their birth, to care about who took care of them and what they wanted,” said Jana Sullivan, director of midwifery services for CHRISTUS Children’s.

 

There are different types of midwives. Sullivan is a certified nurse-midwife, the kind you often see in a medical setting.  Certified nurse-midwives are educated in graduate-level midwifery programs and are active registered nurses.

 

“Midwives approach birth as a physiologic process of life,” she said. “It’s not a disease process. We’re here to educate and empower you for your pregnancy and birth.”

 

She said that historically, midwives attended to low-risk pregnancies and births. But now, certified nurse midwives care for all patients, even those deemed high-risk.

 

Sullivan is part of a team of hospital-based certified nurse midwives at CHRISTUS Children’s. She said there are benefits to receiving midwifery services in a hospital-based setting, starting with the network of maternal-fetal medicine specialists.

 

She said that while she and her team work with the doctors to care for each pregnancy and baby, they are with the mother at every step. “We’re going to give you the best recommendations,” she said.

 

Nurse midwives will advocate on your behalf while minimizing medical interventions whenever possible, she said.

 

Research shows women who receive care from a certified nurse-midwife have shorter hospital stays plus a decreased risk of premature birth and Cesarean delivery.

 

Sullivan said midwives do not only treat and see expecting women. “We do women’s care,” she said. “We can do gynecologic visits, we do adolescent care, we do hormonal contraception when needed for medical conditions, and we also treat women postpartum.”

 

In San Antonio, Sullivan said she has set out to raise awareness of midwifery and educate women at all stages of life. “I hope one day what we see from this is the women of San Antonio feel empowered to want to care about their birth and have improved outcomes, improved health outcomes,” she said. “Not just with their pregnancies and birth, but in general, care for themselves.”

 

Sullivan said her clinic aims to provide care to all women in San Antonio, regardless of their life stage and economic status.

 

“Patients should learn to educate themselves and learn to want what they want for their health in general and to find providers that believe in them,” she said. “It should always be a two-way street between a patient and a provider, and that’s what we as midwives try to do for our patients.”

 

The CHRISTUS Children’s Midwifery team comprises a comprehensive network of highly experienced specialists, physicians, and nurses who ensure that patients receive the highest level of care throughout their pregnancy with a certified nurse midwife.

 

To learn more about CHRISTUS Children’s midwifery program, visit CHRISTUSHealth.org or call (210) 704-4840.

 

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