Spectrum Health’s Certified Nurse Midwifery Program Just Broke all my Midwife Misconceptions, and Now I’m Jealous I Never Used One

*feature image courtesy of Taylor Ballek | Spectrum Health Beat

Midwives Do So Much More Than People Realize

When I was pregnant, I watched with admiration as several friends chose home births with midwives. 

I loved the idea of a natural birth and a relationship with a midwife but didn’t want to leave my safety net of a hospital setting. It was important to me to have medical technology and expertise available to me and my baby if needed. 

I also thought that midwives were more like super supportive birth facilitators, and I wanted someone who could also administer pain meds and give medical advice.

It turns out that I was all wrong about midwives

Certified Nurse Midwives

  • Are highly certified and trained
  • Can administer pain meds and give medical advice
  • Can deliver in hospitals
  • Are covered by most insurance plans
  • Are compassionate practitioners who are experts in physiological birth with a low intervention approach during labor
image courtesy of Taylor Ballek | Spectrum Health Beat

Spectrum Health has used CNMs for years, but it has now expanded the program to include several locations where women can go for prenatal and postnatal care. 

“I love the relationship base that midwifery provides,” says Sarah Kent, Certified Nurse Midwife at the 68th Street and Ada location. 

“And not just the woman and the baby, but the entire family. I love being there when they’re delivering, and being able to follow up postpartum,” she adds. 

Women looking for that more personalized, natural experience are loving this expanded program. 

Four Myths About Midwives

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who’s had these misconceptions about midwives.

I think we often get midwives confused with doulas, who offer emotional support and help women advocate for themselves during labor.

Midwives are like the bridge between doulas and OBGYNs. They can kind of do it all, between offering personalized, low-intervention care and practicing the current evidence-based guidelines for a safe delivery. 

The CNMs at Spectrum Health love connecting with their patients and getting to experience their prenatal, birth and postpartum moments.

Myth #1

Midwives Aren’t Accredited

Did you know how much training a certified nurse midwife has? It’s a lot more than I used to think! 

They have masters degrees in advanced practice nursing, are state licenced, and passed a national certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.    (Board certified tends to be associated with physicians, but CNMs are, too). 

Spectrum Health has recognized the training and expertise of CNM’s for years, and has grown into the only hospital-based midwifery program in the region. 

There are currently five locations where you can receive certified midwife care through Spectrum. 

Ada Integrated Care Campus: 7128 East Fulton, Ada MI | 616-825-3500
Spectrum Health South Pavilion: 80 68th St SE, Ste 301, Byron Center, MI | 616-391-3302
Spectrum Health OB/GYN Clinic: 330 Barclay Ave SE, Ste 304, Grand Rapids, MI | 616-391-2160
Spectrum Health Pennock Multispecialty Clinic: 1009 W. Green Street, Ste 301, Hastings, MI | 269-945-8080
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial OB/GYN Clinic: 212 S. Sullivan St, Fremont, MI | 231-924-1212

Myth #2

Midwives Only Deliver Babies at Home

If you use a Spectrum certified nurse midwife, she will be right there with you in the hospital, bringing all her wonderful midwife skills and care. 

Not only do you get compassionate care from highly trained midwives, but you’re also getting access to expert resources if needed, including the only Level IV NICU in West Michigan with maternal fetal medicine and neonatal specialists to make sure your baby has the specialized care he or she needs.. 

You’re getting the best of both worlds. 

What most women are seeking with a midwife isn’t necessarily a home birth, but a more individualized experience. 

“We are offering full scope midwifery care, which includes comprehensive prenatal care, support during labor and postpartum follow up. “says Kent.

Plus, you see the same provider regularly, as each location employs a small pool of midwives to maintain that personalized experience. 

“There’s continuity in who you see,” says Kent. “We have six in our office and we all work together. “

So when you go into labor, it’ll be a familiar face helping you deliver! 

AND, a familiar face again for postpartum care, because you see the same midwives for follow-up appointments.

Myth #3

You can’t Use Both a Midwife and a Doctor

Midwives and Obstetricians both have their own training, and while most births attended by midwives don’t involve extra resources, you can certainly access other specialists in addition to the midwife, if the need arises. 

Kent and her peers value the collaborative relationship they share with the obstetricians at Spectrum Health. 

“We provide care to women with low risk pregnancies but if an emergency were to arise, we have collaborating obstetricians and a NICU team available.  

“We have really good support.”

So why do women opt for a midwife in a hospital if there are physicians available? 

Midwives give incredible personalized care. They are there just for you. 

“Our responsibility is strictly to our laboring moms which allows us to provide hands-on labor support,” says Kent.

image courtesy of Taylor Ballek | Spectrum Health Beat
Myth #4

Insurance Doesn’t Cover a Midwife

Surprise! – Most insurances cover the cost of a midwife. 

Always check with your insurance first to make sure. 

image courtesy of Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat

Spectrum Midwives Love Making Relationships With Moms & Families

Individualized care is a midwife’s passion. They love building relationships. 

One of the ways they do it is through longer appointment times with patients, and having a team-based office so everyone gets to know everyone. 

“It’s all about providing individualized, evidence-based care while respecting the birth wishes of the families we care for,” says Kent. 

It’s really special to have a midwife and watch their eyes light up when you bring in your baby for a postnatal visit, or when you return a few years later to have another baby. 

They’ll remember you. And they will be thrilled to experience it all with you again. 

Spectrum Health Midwifery Care

Five locations across West Michigan.

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