National Midwifery Week: Health First Midwives Handle Babies, Women’s Care with a Personal Touch
By Space Coast Daily // October 5, 2023
Today’s certified nurse midwives are highly trained advanced practice providers
Health First’s Certified Nurse Midwives offer women’s healthcare well before, and long after, a pregnancy.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Few titles in medicine conjure more warmth and positive sentiment – and reveal more confusion – than midwife. The primary attendant for women in labor, midwives were historically apprenticed, not schooled, and by 1980, the rate of deliveries attended by a midwife had fallen to about 1 in 100 – but no longer.
Today’s certified nurse midwives are highly trained advanced practice providers.
Data from the Government Accountability Office says about 1 in 8 births in the United States in 2021 were chiefly attended by a nurse midwife. Three Health First Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) boast growing office practices (with privileges at Health First’s Cape Canaveral Hospital).
And these professionals don’t work strictly around the perinatal period (before and after the birth of a child). They see patients for reproductive health matters before pregnancy – and well after, into menopause.
“We care for women at all stages of life, from annual Well Woman exams to contraception management, pregnancy, delivery, all the way up through menopause,” says Amber Chambers, APRN, CNM.
Like a lot of advanced practice providers (all advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants), the value proposition for patients weighing the choice of a nurse midwife over an obstetrician is time and access.
“We have a little more time to provide hands-on care because we have a smaller patient load,” says Stefanie Hoffman, APRN, CNM, but she says the midwives work very closely with the obstetricians who all deliver at Cape Canaveral Hospital.
“We have a great collaboration. We’re in communication with the physicians constantly – I talk with them more than my own family most days, so the clinical care is seamless.”
The longest tenured Health First Nurse Midwife is Alanna Colón, APRN, CNM. She has worked closely with Obstetrician Aimee Raup, DO. It was Raup who encouraged her to prioritize her education and become a midwife and Health First Provider.
“The physicians are busy seeing a variety of patients in the office as well as performing surgeries – they are multitasking at the highest level. The benefit of our midwifery group is that we are able to support the physicians and their patients when needed as well as providing quality care to our patients, she says. “That’s why we make a good collaborative team.”
Colón says there are high-risk conditions, worrisome screening results and inpatient complications that result in a physician handoff, but these are rare.
For patients considering seeing a nurse midwife, she says the value proposition “is what we sometimes call, high touch, low tech.”
This is especially valued by military members and spouses. There are many such women and young families in Brevard County, and they come without extended family or much of any network. For these patients, having access to local resources the midwives are familiar with can make an impact.
“It’s hard to get a support system in place when you come to a new area, whether it be a new military transfer, job relocation, et cetera. We are active members in this community and in touch with a lot of resources in Brevard,” Colón says.
To learn more about pregnancy, birth and newborn care at Health First, visit HF.org/pregnancy.