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Midwifery

Midwives are professionals who aid in the processes of labor, delivery and postpartum care. Midwifery minimizes the level of medical intervention during pregnancy and delivery. Midwives can be present during a hospital delivery.

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Certified nurse midwives in Virginia

Whether you want an entirely unmedicated birth or low-intervention options, our certified nurse midwives will work to ensure your safe pregnancy and delivery.

At HCA Virginia Health System, we understand that every expectant mother has unique preferences for maternity care and childbirth. We offer customized birth plans that allow you to chose procedures and providers that will align with your wishes. That is why we offer midwifery care for women interested in alternative delivery options. Your certified nurse midwife (CNM) will care for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and delivery.

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Our midwifery services

We want to facilitate a comfortable and joyful birth that aligns with your wishes. If you are interested in having a midwife-assisted, low-intervention birth, we support your choice and will prepare for your ideal delivery experience.

What is a certified nurse midwife (CNM)?

A CNM is a registered nurse with advanced training in female reproductive health and childbirth. They will have training at a masters level, and/or have certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board.

CNMs will provide care for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and facilitate low-intervention births. Your CNM will help you strategize delivery techniques that allow you to give birth without the need for medical intervention. They offer a spectrum of services from prenatal care to postpartum support, and may also offer care outside of pregnancy, such as wellness exams.

If you have a routine, low-risk pregnancy, a CNM is a great choice for a healthcare provider. However, if you have been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancies, you will benefit from the care of an obstetrician gynecologist (OB/GYN) and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.


What does a midwife do?

Our CNMs will provide you with education about your body and your baby's changes and needs throughout your pregnancy. They offer support through each trimester and help you prepare your body for giving birth.

Some of the topics they will guide you through include laboring at home, when to come to the hospital and how to work with your body and contractions. They will help you learn to self-soothe discomfort you may experience during your pregnancy.

Our CNMs will help facilitate your birth through a variety of trusted methods, which might include:

  • Alternative labor and birthing positions
  • Aromatherapy
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Personalized support
  • Skin-to-skin contact after birth
  • Wireless monitoring

CNMs will be able to recommend a variety of methods to ease your delivery. If needed, they will also be able to recommend medications, including pain control medications, that will help you through your labor and delivery.


Where can I find a midwife?

Our network provides midwifery care at the following hospital birth centers:


Frequently asked questions about midwifery care

What is the difference between a midwife and an OB/GYN?

Both midwives and OB/GYNs are dedicated to preserving the health of you and your baby. Accreditation as a CNM or OB/GYN requires years of school to acquire an expert-level understanding of labor and delivery procedures. No matter who you chose as your healthcare provider, you can trust that your provider will offer the same quality and compassionate care.

The primary difference is that OB/GYNs are physicians. They have completed medical school as well as a residency program, and many elect to pursue additional specialized training. OB/GYNs have been trained to manage all pregnancies and treat conditions that might affect you or your baby.

CNMs have received registered nursing degrees in addition to master’s degrees in midwifery. CNMs expertise lies in caring for low-risk and routine pregnancies. They have not received training in performing surgery related to childbirth, such as a cesarean section (C-section).

Who can use a midwife?

The CNMs at our Virginia maternity hospitals are available for expectant mothers experiencing routine pregnancies. CNMs will work with your other healthcare providers to discuss factors that may exclude you from receiving midwifery care.

What if I need to be induced or decide I want pain medication while using a midwife?

If necessary, CNMs can provide induction services such as augmentation of labor, which is the process of stimulating the uterus to increase the frequency, duration and intensity of contractions after the onset of spontaneous labor. Additionally, CNMs know that every labor experience and parent is unique, and they will continue to support you if you choose to receive pain medication.

What happens if I am using a midwife but have a complication during my birth?

Your CNM is only part of your healthcare team. At any of our hospitals, you will have access to an array of on-staff providers, including OB/GYNs if you require their expertise. Your CNM is committed to you and your baby's safety and will work with or defer to one of their OB/GYN peers should the need arise. They will remain with you throughout your labor and delivery, and might assist in the operating room.

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We also offer quality care at these other locations in our extended network.
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