Intermountain Healthcare

Why Women May Want to Consider Seeing a Midwife for General Care


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/23/2021 --Midwives are independent women's OBGyn and primary health care providers for women of all ages, from preteen to beyond menopause.

During pregnancy, midwives provide prenatal care, births and postpartum care. Nine percent of deliveries nationwide are with midwives. It's higher in Utah, about 10% of births are with midwives.

Midwives provide many GYN services including annual exams, pap smears, family planning such as IUDs and birth control pill prescriptions, trouble with abnormal bleeding, HPV and other vaccines and breast exams.

"I think there is a lot of misconception about this, but it's really important to know that midwives are healthcare providers for women; who care for women through birth pass menopause," said Leah Moses, CNM, Intermountain Healthcare.

Midwife philosophy of care
- Empower women to actively participate in their own health care
- Provide equitable, ethical and accessible women's health care
- Compassionate care, considering her lifestyle and support network
- Watchful waiting without intervening in normal processes
- Appropriately use technology

"In our philosophies of care, part of it is we spend more time in the clinic with women. We also stay with women during active labor. That is one big difference, we don't come in just as a woman is delivering, but also stay with her and perform labor support," said Moses.

How is a midwife different than a doctor/OBGyn?

- Midwives care for mostly low risk, or healthy, women attend vaginal deliveries

- OBGyn doctors are trained as surgeons and care for low and high risk women:

1. Chronic conditions; diabetes, chronic high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases
2. Multiples including twins, triplets
3. Complicated Gyn conditions or surgeries

- Both offer same prenatal visit schedule and tests: labs and bloodwork, ultrasounds, blood pressure checks, aware of complications

- Midwives in hospitals always have OBGyn backup physicians to consult and help out when a situation becomes higher risk

- Midwives may jointly care for women with gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced high blood pressure, previous c-sections wanting a vaginal delivery or other conditions

- Some CNMs are trained as first assist for cesarean sections and can be with women in the OR as the second surgeon if delivery plans change

Why a Midwife?

Midwife model of care:

- Usually spend more time with women in the clinic during visits and in the labor room

- Midwives strongly consider a woman's labor and birth preferences

- Let normal labor progress on its own: use interventions like breaking water only when needed

- Many approaches to pain management in labor:

1. Wide variety of labor support techniques, teach supportive partners how to help

2. Midwives practicing in hospitals help women deliver with or without epidurals

- Midwives stay with women in active labor, also work with doulas

- Studies show midwifery care for healthy low risk women is very safe, and can result in fewer interventions, less c-sections and very high patient satisfaction

Types of midwives

- All midwives provide women's healthcare, each state is a little different

- CNMs attend births in hospitals, prescribe medication and collaborate with OBGyn:

1. Masters or Doctoral degrees

2. Many are not nurses first but come from other professions

3. All Intermountain midwives are CNMs and attend births in the hospital

- CPM, Certified Professional Midwives, attend home or birth center births

- Direct entry midwives learn from experienced midwives and attend home births

- Consider your preferences but also your own health condition when you choose a provider and location for your care and delivery, and for out of hospital birth, find out about hospital transfers so you are prepared, just in case


- Continue prenatal care, gyn annual and problem visits

- Wear a mask to appointments, stay home with symptoms

- Call before you come: let your provider or labor and delivery know before you come in, call ahead of an appointment time if you have symptoms, follow the symptom checker on

- Deliveries, 2 masked >18y asymptomatic birth support partners (doula counts as 1)

- Intermountain hospitals have always allowed one healthy support person at deliveries

- If need to go out, wear mask over nose and mouth, physical distance, wash hands 20sec soap/warm water

- Be honest about contact tracing, let others know if you have symptoms or test positive

"We offer compassionate care and really want to make sure that we care for the whole woman. We are interested in mental health, her physical health and we do feel strongly as midwives that the more empowered a woman can be within her own healthcare, it will help create a healthier family," said Moses.

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About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit, read our blogs, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.