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Midwifery Services

What is a midwife?

The word midwife means "with woman". Midwives care for healthy, low-risk women throughout pregnancy, during labor and birth, and the postpartum period. Midwives also care for women throughout the lifespan for annual checkups, family planning, meno­pause, and common infections and health problems.

The midwives at Estrella Women's Health Center are Certified-Nurse Midwives who have master's degrees in nursing and are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Why would I choose a midwife for my care?

Midwives approach pregnancy and birth as normal physiologic events for healthy women. Midwives are experts at educating women about normal changes and identifying symp­toms that require calling the attention of a physician. They practice using evidence-based care and can prescribe medications, order tests, and perform medical procedures when there is a specific concern for the health of mom or baby. The midwives work in partnership with our physicians who are readily available when needed to make sure you get the best care for you and baby.

Common Questions

  1. Who will attend my birth?
    The primary midwife who you see throughout your prenatal care will be the midwife who tries their best to attend your birth. We do share night and weekend call in consideration for everyone's safety, as well as our own families needs. Occasionally, circumstances may arise where one of the physicians is called in for consultation and may be present at the hospital or in the room.
  2. Do you provide labor support and stay with women throughout labor?
    We assess your labor and your need for support throughout. We may leave for a period of time and come back when your labor is more active. Our labor nurses are excellent and you may consider bringing a doula with you to compliment the birth support team.
  3. Do you allow moving around and eating or drinking during labor?
    Yes, please. We know the evidence supports allowing women to eat and drink as they feel and that moving around in labor, being upright, and changing positions all facilitate normal labor progress.
  4. Can I hold my baby right after birth, breast feed, and not be separated?
    Absolutely, as long as there is not immediate concern for baby's or your well-being. Babies who go right to mom's chest and stay skin-to-skin have better success at breastfeeding and maintaining their own vital signs. Baby will stay with you as long as you want. All assessments can be done with baby on you, and weight can wait.
  5. Do I have to have an IV, fetal heart rate monitor, pitocin, or an episiotomy?
    The need for IV fluids, continuous fetal heart monitoring, pitocin augmentation, or an episiotomy are all dependent on events that occur in labor suggesting a medical need. No intervention should be initiated without first discussing with you why any of the above would be recommended or necessary.
  6. What if I want an epidural? Can I still have a midwife?
    Yes! We support your plan for pain relief in labor.
  7. Do you care for women who want a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean birth?
    At this time, our midwives do not attend births for women wanting a VBAC. However, we can be part of your prenatal care in collaboration with our physicians who do support VBAC in women who are appropriate for a trial of labor.
  8. What if my pregnancy is high risk?
    If your pregnancy is high risk or becomes high risk, we highly recommend our physician partners. They love birth as much as we do, and are experts in their field. You can still bring your birth plan and they will work with you to make balance your desires with your medical needs.