National Midwifery Week: Should I Use a Midwife?


In honor of National Midwifery Week, St. Elizabeth Healthcare is celebrating our midwives and the tremendous services they bring to our healthcare network.

What is a Nurse-Midwife?

It’s a common myth that nurse-midwives don’t have a formal education and only perform home births. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

All certified nurse-midwives (CNM) are advanced practice registered nurses. At St. Elizabeth, our eight certified nurse-midwives have their nursing degrees and a Master of Science degree with a specialization in Nurse-Midwifery. Additionally, our nurse-midwife team delivers babies exclusively at The Family Birth Place at St. Elizabeth.

All St. Elizabeth nurse-midwives work in an OB/GYN or Family Medicine practice, closely partnering with the other members of the healthcare team to prioritize the patient’s care.

“Each provider – OB/GYN, family doctor or midwife – has a unique skill set and we all function collegially,” says Sister Kay Kramer, Laborist/Nurse-Midwife at St. Elizabeth Physicians. “The skills of each profession are recognized as equally valuable and necessary to provide holistic care to our community.”

Nurse-midwives are trained to care for low-risk childbearing women, as well as to care for high-risk patients in collaboration with St. Elizabeth physician colleagues.

Our nurse-midwife team is also committed to meeting women’s needs at any time in their life. Nurse-midwives are here to care for patients before, during and after childbirth, as well as for all of their OB/GYN needs—annual well visits, patient education appointments and reproductive care.

The benefits of Midwifery

The nurse-midwife team at St. Elizabeth is committed to helping mothers achieve natural childbirth, should that be their desire. Birth options at St. Elizabeth have expanded to include tubs for laboring mothers and use of alternative pain management therapies like essential oils.

“We have a very active natural childbirth committee which focuses on improving our care to all women, especially those who plan for natural childbirth,” says Sister Kay. “We focus on keeping birth as normal as possible, intervening only when necessary.”

Studies have shown that women receiving midwifery care experience a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk of needing a cesarean
  • Reduced rates of labor induction and augmentation
  • Lower costs for patients and insurers
  • Increased chances of a positive start to breastfeeding
  • Increased satisfaction with quality of care

“We have had nurse-midwives at St. Elizabeth for nearly twenty years, so we have a good track record in our region of caring for women and families,” says Sister Kay Kramer.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a certified nurse-midwife at St. Elizabeth, visit our website or call (800) 737-7900.