Certified nurse-midwives:their training and duties

(News Leader) Midwife Brenda Abercrombie likes to say she’s in the business of normal.

Abercrombie, of Stockton, is a certified nurse-midwife and delivers babies mostly at home. She has been certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board since 1999.

“Midwifery is based on keeping pregnancy normal and keeping childbirth normal,” Abercrombie said. “We are specialists in keeping things normal.”

Certified nurse-midwives are advanced practice registered nurses who have specialized education and training in both nursing and midwifery. Nurse-midwives in Missouri can prescribe drugs if they have a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. They may handle routine gynecological care such as pelvic exams.

Missouri has 108 nurse-midwives, according to state regulators. Greene County and Stone County each have one certified nurse-midwife. There are none in Christian County.

There aren’t any midwives with admitting privileges at Mercy Hospital Springfield, CoxHealth or Citizens Memorial Hospital.

Certified nurse-midwives handle low-risk births and can work with obstetricians who can handle serious complications. Most of the midwives in the United States are certified nurse-midwives. There are also certified midwives and certified professional midwives who have different qualifications. In 2009, certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives attended 7.6 percent of all births in the United States.

Women who receive care from certified nurse-midwives have lower rates of cesarean births and induced labor and higher rates of breastfeeding than women who receive care from physicians, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives. They also have a higher chance for a normal vaginal births with fewer interventions.

In 2010, 95.7 percent of births attended by certified nurse-midwives or certified midwives were in hospitals, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives in Silver Spring, Md. About 2 percent of midwife births were in free-standing birth centers and 2 percent were in homes.