What is a midwife?

Midwife means “with woman.” Specifically, to assist with improving health and well-being and bringing about positive change for women. Most of the time, this is associated with assisting women in childbirth…

But, we do SO MUCH MORE!

As a midwife, I specialize in Women’s Health from the teenage years when we start our ‘periods’ through menopause when our ‘periods’ end and beyond. In other words, I take care of women throughout their lifetime by helping them understand all the transitions they go through and help their families go through. Our motto is “with women for a lifetime” and we are with you every step of the way!

Everyone has different health care preferences. Only you can decide what is right for you. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I want a provider who has experience in a range of areas, from general health to gynecologic health services?
  • Do I want a provider who can provide care for me in important life events, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause?
  • Do I want to create a long-term partnership with my provider?

When you are considering a health care provider, not only what they do, but how they do it matters.

The philosophy of midwifery care emphasizes quality, individualized evidence-based care that respects human dignity and diversity. Midwifery promotes a continuous and compassionate partnership, which promotes self-determination and active participation in health care decisions.

There are so many myths surrounding midwives that most people do not actually realize what we do.

Myth #1: Midwives have no formal education.

I am a Certified Nurse Midwife, which is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner in the state of Iowa. I have my Master’s degree in Nursing and Midwifery from Georgetown University and am Board Certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board and licensed to practice in the state of Iowa. I also have 23+ years of experience.

Myth #2: Midwives only attend births at home.

Midwives delivery babies in a variety of settings, however, 95% of midwives deliver babies in a hospital as part of a comprehensive health care team, including family practice and OB/Gyn physicians.

Myth #3: Midwives do not prescribe medications or tests.

Nurse midwives are licensed to prescribe a full range of medications and treatments, including pain medications and birth control.

Myth #4: Midwives do not work with physicians or other members of the healthcare team.

On June 1, 2018 The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) announced the release of an updated “Joint Statement of Practice Relations between Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Certified Nurse-Midwives. This landmark document signified the next era of respectful collaboration between health care providers, which is essential for the improvement of health care services.

At Lucas County Health Center I work with our family practice providers, physician assistants, and family nurse practitioners as a team. Although nurse-midwives are designated as primary care providers, my expertise is in women’s health and the other members of our clinic respect that. I refer to the very skilled providers in our clinic for acute problems and chronic health conditions and likewise, they refer to me for women’s health needs.

So, what exactly does a nurse-midwife do and what is the difference?

First of all, I will sit down and talk with you. I will ask about your current and past health as well as your future goals. We will discuss preventive care to help keep you healthy – like immunizations, cervical cancer screenings, mammograms, etc. We will check your height and weight and blood pressure. You will only need to get undressed if our exam that day includes a reason to get undressed (again, after we talk.) Midwives spend a lot of time educating about national standards and recommendations – and things change – so recommendations change. It used to be standard to have a pap smear for cervical cancer screening every year. That is no longer the case! We can stretch out the number of years between pap smears (if they are normal) and still stay safe. AND pap smears for cervical cancer screening begin at age 21 now!

In addition to women’s health, I am a Certified Menopause Practitioner. Perimenopause and menopause are important transitions in our life. Knowledge is power! I believe in the importance of education, medications, and support to help understand and make the most of all of your years, especially as you age and as life changes.

Women’s health is all about helping you stay healthy to achieve your life goals. I am your partner in health care and am here for annual exams, pap smears, birth control, weight management, depression, irregular periods, menopause, and more! I am also here to find the right specialist if you need more specialized care.

I can still help during pregnancy as well! Even though Lucas County Health Center no longer delivers babies, I can help you get started with pregnancy dating, ultrasounds, and staying healthy in your pregnancy. We partner with surrounding hospitals to allow you the convenience of pregnancy care close to home while finding the right place for you to deliver your baby.

The bottom line – schedule an appointment! Come see me to discuss your individual health concerns and life goals. I want to partner with you for your healthcare needs.

Learn more about Sharon Squibb, MS, CNM, NCMP.