YELLOW SPRINGS — Women and their families will have the opportunity to have dessert and conversation with Kettering Health Network’s (KHN) certified nurse midwives (CNMs) next week.
CNM Darla Baker is one of the midwives who will be speaking during “Dessert with a Midwife,” which will be held 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 at Mills Park Hotel, 321 Xenia Avenue.
Baker was a labor and delivery nurse for 10 years before she decided to transition into midwifery.
“At the time, we would care for patients during labor and birth and I really wanted that whole relationship with the patient and family — caring for them through the entire pregnancy and sometimes multiple pregnancies,” she said. “I do think, because we are more hands-on and do whatever possible to try to be with patients more in labor, a bit of a diferent relationship develops.”
A CNM is an advanced practice registered nurse with specialized training in women’s health and a concentration in pregnancy, labor, birth and after birth. Midwives provide full-scope and obstetric care for women from puberty through menopause, including well-woman gynecologic care, family planning consolations and contraception, and prenatal, pregnancy and birthing care.
Baker said midwife care is typically for women who are healthy with a normal pregnancy, but midwives can also work alongside a physician if a woman has complications or risk factors in her pregnancy.
“We view pregnancy and birth as a normal, healthy aspect of women’s lives and treat that accordingly,” Baker said.
There are some differences, she continued, between sole physician care and sole midwife care.
“We are less likely to put arbitrary time limits on labor progress. We typically prefer to admit women to the hospital later when active labor is well-established. Then we want to support the natural process of labor with little intervention as long as everything is progressing normally until the time of birth,” she said.
Baker said a midwife is typically more present during labor, providing more direct hands-on care.
“We don’t replace nursing care but we are there to support that process,” Baker said. “Everyone understands labor is a wonderful, wonderful experience, but it can be painful and long. We do like to utilize some other methods of pain relief, like hydrotherapy — or labor in a bath tub — in addition to those methods considered traditional.”
Midwives are trained to administer pharmacological pain management if a patient chooses to have it.
In her 20 years as a CNM, Baker said the “closeness to patients” is what has made a difference.
CNMs Whitney Clark, Rhonda Conley and Kristie Blake will also be at the event to talk about how CNMs can provide an empowered labor experience.
Pregnant couples, families considering starting or adding to their family or any other residents interested in learning about midwifery can attend the free event. Seating is limited. To register, call 937-558-3988.
Contact this reporter at 937-502-4498. Follow Anna Bolton, Reporter @annadbolton on Facebook.