Welcome to Matrona Mondays! In Roman times, Matronas were those women who were known as the “Mothers of their Family,” or strong, respectable women in the community. "Matrona" is also the name for female Roman deities known as the Protectresses of a tribe or community. Each Monday, we will feature a voice of one the Matrona's in our community. These women, though different in history and practice, are united by the passion to support and empower pregnant and birthing families around the globe.
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Have you ever had someone ask, “Who’s going to deliver your baby?” If you’ve ever been visibly pregnant, it’s likely you have. If you live in the United States, your likely answer is the name of a physician. If it’s ever occurred to you that it may not make sense that most women see a trained surgeon for their routine care during pregnancy and birth, a midwife might be right for you.
Written records of midwives providing care in their communities date back to the 2nd century, well before physicians or surgeons existed. In fact, obstetricians and hospitals have only been around about 100 years! Midwifery is a time-honored practice that gives women power and supports the belief that birth is normal until proven otherwise. Since the beginning of midwifery care, many changes have occurred in societies and within the profession, so that today the most common type of midwife in the United States is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). A CNM has experience as a nurse, has completed a Master’s degree, passed a national certification exam, and can be licensed and prescribe medications in all 50 states. Most provide care in a doctor’s office and deliver babies in hospitals. However, as out of hospital birth has become increasingly popular (and safer for low risk pregnancies), CNM’s are beginning to attend births both in freestanding birthing centers and at home.
So why do YOU need a midwife? We’ll discuss the top 5 reasons:
- Your midwife can provide care for you throughout your life, not just during pregnancy. Midwives provide care for women from adolescence through menopause. This includes birth control, annual exams, pap smears; all types of problems including infections, bleeding irregularities, breast issues, depression, anxiety, trouble conceiving, pain, incontinence, and difficulty with sex (just to name a few).
- Though sometimes a Cesarean section (C-section) is very necessary and life-saving, you’re much less likely to have an unnecessary C-section if you’re under the care of a midwife, both at the hospital, or at home or in a freestanding birthing center. C-sections can have serious short and long-term consequences. There’s the possibility of chronic pain, adhesions, bladder issues, and bowel issues. It can limit the size of family that you can have since most of the time not more than 3-4 C-sections are recommended in a lifetime. Miscarriage, stillbirth, placenta abnormalities, and infertility are all more common after C-sections. The rate of C-sections overall is close to 33% in this country. The rate for practices with midwives can be much lower – as low as 10-15% for hospital-based midwives and as low as 5-10% at home or in a birth center (and closer to the World Health Organization recommendation of not more than 15%).
- You have a range of options available to you with a midwife. First, you can choose a Certified Nurse Midwife at a hospital, at a freestanding birth center, or at home – options you don’t typically have with routine care with an obstetrician. You can have support in trying for as natural a birth as you would like. Or, if plans change, you change your mind, or simply desire to be as pain free as possible with medication or an epidural, a CNM can order the same pain medicines as all other providers in the hospital. Midwives are also more likely to help you try to avoid more invasive procedures, like surgery, Pitocin/Cytotec, vacuum or forceps delivery, or episiotomy, either through prevention or through alternative treatments whenever they are available.
- Midwives seek to be your partner in YOUR health care, not subject you to interventions that may or may not have been explained or that may or may not be anything that you want. One of our basic principles is that we inform you of your options so that you can make decisions for yourself and your family. This puts you in control and allows for a much more personalized experience. It’s your body, your family, your health. YOU should be in charge. We’re there for the expert guidance and support.
- Midwives are the experts in normal. And most births (and pregnancies) are normal! We’re also well-trained to be able to prevent problems, recognize problems early, intervene early, and consult our physician/surgeon colleagues when it’s necessary. Study after study show that we provide very safe care that our patients are very satisfied with.
So maybe after reading this you might consider having your next well-women exam or pregnancy, birth and postpartum care with a midwife. We hope you do, the more women who desire midwifery care, hopefully, the more midwifery care will become available to them! We look forward to serving you; it is our honor and pleasure!
Tiffany Jorgenson is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) who has been serving the Front Range as a registered nurse and midwife for the last six years. In March of 2015, Tiffany opened a home birth practice (Mountain Miracles Midwifery, Inc.) to serve those families who desired a home birth and wanted insurance to cover their care under a CNM. Tiffany has been honored to serve these families and hopes to change the way out of hospital birth is viewed in the US and help women empower themselves to be leaders in the pregnancy, birth and postpartum care they desire!
Tiffany has been married since July of 2010 and she and her husband are Colorado natives and proud to call it home! Tiffany graduated with her Bachelor’s in Science Nursing from UCCS and obtained her Master’s in Science Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. Her experience ranges from low risk out of hospital birth all the way through high risk in hospital birth and everything in between; though she only manages low risk clients at this time. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys LONG road trips with her husband exploring the US, walking her puppy and being outdoors in beautiful Colorado.
Tiffany Jorgenson, MSN, CNM
Mountain Miracles Midwifery, Inc.
Jolene Hamann has been a Certified Nurse Midwife since 2007, and has had the pleasure of catching babies and caring for women in New York, Illinois, and now Colorado. She has four wonderful children with her photographer husband, Dave - Josh, Fox, Ryker, and Molly. Helping women on the sacred journey through pregnancy, birth, and life is her calling and her passion. Her hobbies include sleep, and maybe a little reading sometimes. You can reach her at csobgyn.net or on facebook.