Nurse-midwives specialize in providing women's health care from puberty through and beyond menopause and are authorized to provide primary care. Nurse-midwifery services generally include annual physical exams; family planning; gynecological exams; treating infections; peri and menopausal management; care through pregnancy, labor and birth; newborn care and breastfeeding support. In Maine nurse-midwives can prescribe medication, order lab tests or imaging as needed. They work collaboratively within the medical community to make referrals and consultations with doctors, therapists, or social agencies as needed.
Maine's Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) have been delivering babies and caring for Maine women since 1974. Today there are approximately 100 CNMs in Maine with practices located throughout the state. Nurse-midwives attend 18% of all births in Maine and 25% of all vaginal births. Most of these births are in hospitals or birthing centers. Our goal is to offer high quality compassionate care, help you make informed choices and get individualized health care that is safe, supportive, and satisfying. Maine's CNMs provide care in a variety of settings: homes, health clinics, private offices, hospitals, and birthing centers. Sometimes they work for hospitals, physician practices, or have their own practices. We have CNMs that teach at colleges or precept medical students and others that combine other disciplines with nurse-midwifery like nutrition, lactation consulting, herbology, family nursing, or surgical assisting.
CNMs graduate from accredited master’s degree programs and pass a national certification examination prior to practicing. CNMs must recertify every five years. Maine Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are licensed as both Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). In addition to recertification, in Maine CNMs are also required to renew their license every two years which includes remaining clinically current as demonstrated by meeting continuing education and clinical practice requirements. The American College of Nurse-Midwives provides practice guidelines that CNMs base their clinical practice on.
For more information about nurse-midwives.
The practice of focusing on the present moment without judgment is an effective tool for childbirth and life. We are fortunate to have a nurse-midwife offering classes in Ellsworth.
Centering involves the mom and her partner and provides education, clinical care and community support in a group format. There are ten, two hour sessions that are often held in the evening allowing partners more opportunity to attend. Groups are generally made up of about ten moms- to- be and their support person. Women learn to collect their own vital signs and then have a few minutes with their midwife for health assessment and to listen to fetal heart tones. The majority of the 2 hour time is spent in the group, providing community and education.
Centering has so many benefits. For patients it has been shown to improve self-esteem and confidence as a new parent. It has been studied to decrease preterm birth, decrease emergency room visits and increase rates of immunization and breastfeeding. Patients get more overall time with their midwife and a strong community connection with other birthing families. This connection often lasts years after the birth of their child as parents find lasting friendships and support .
For providers, it allows more time with the families they are caring for. It provides the opportunity to efficiently share education and guidance for many patients at one time in a way that is tailored for each individual group. It enhances the relationship between midwife and birthing family.
There is usually a pot luck dinner at the end to celebrate the completion of Centering and the impending births of babies. Some practices also have a reunion of all Centering families each year where Centering Families past and present come together to reunite and show off their beautiful children. Midwives participating in Centering find it incredibly rewarding.
Accredited educational opportunities are offered quarterly through our affiliate for professional development and credentialing. These programs increase competency and enhance excellency in providing care. Staying current in research, innovation, legislation, and advocacy are paramount.
These are my hands
Through these hands I have come to see the world.
These hands have measured the growth of life
and documented the stalling of time.
They guide my ears to places where I hear
The watch-like beat of tiny hearts.
My hands have felt the hard bony framework of
and the softness of muscles
Which will bulge like petals of a rose.
My hands have opened windows to the energy
Of the souls of those I have touched.
They have felt the frigid rigidity
Of steel instruments and the softness of a friend.
There are stories in these hands,
read from the pages of the work of women.
With my hands I felt the power
Of the strength it takes to grow
and release a new spirit.
My hands were born with the knowing of touch.
The journey has added the how and when
and the time to ask for help.
Teaching hand engulfed mine
until they were ready to fly. My hands are joined in a circle
Unbroken through time.
Sometimes my hands do nothing.
Their most important work
will be still with fingers laced
The “art of doing nothing” has been passed
from one generation to the next.
Mine have been taught by some of the most powerful
to watch and wait.
This is perhaps the hardest for
hands born to touch.
If I have nothing else to give to you, let me
teach you how to see with your hands.
How to open the windows of life, and close
the door softly when it is time.
In the darkness
It is your hands that will light the way.
These are my hands.
These are the hands of a midwife.
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