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Midwifery at Kennedy

Midwife Services at Kennedy
What is a Midwife?

Today’s professional midwife is a healthcare professional educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, who cares for women of all ages --  from puberty, to pre-conception, to post-menopause. Certified Nurse Midwives on staff with Kennedy University Hospital offer a variety of services for women in all stages of life, including:

  • Comprehensive gynecologic care, including annual and interim physical, pelvic and breast examinations
  • Education/counseling in nutrition, exercise, physiological and emotional changes, sexuality and family planning
  • Prenatal care with a personal focus, including help in creating a customized birth plan
  • Individualized care during pregnancy, labor and birth (including delivering babies)
  • Breastfeeding assistance and encouragement
  • Postpartum care
  • Menopause care

To become certified, midwives—who are master’s level-trained nurses -- must complete a course of study in a program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and pass a certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). Midwives are also licensed by the state of New Jersey.

Nurse Midwives  offer a special approach to pregnancy and childbirth, with an emphasis on empowering women, providing highly personalized services and keeping a focus on the patient’s family throughout their care. They strive to help women achieve a safe, personalized and fulfilling birth experience.  If you choose to deliver your baby with a Kennedy Nurse Midwife, she will be with you throughout your labor and birth to offer both emotional and physical support, making every effort to help you achieve the kind of birth you want. Should you or your baby need specialized medical care during your delivery, our Nurse Midwives have immediate access to Kennedy’s fine staff of maternal-fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, and nurse anesthetists.

High Standards for Care

Midwifery is grounded in evidence-based practice and professional standards, along with a deep understanding of the normal, natural events in a women’s lifespan. Midwives approach women’s healthcare based on researched evidence and clinical expertise, while also considering a woman’s own values. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) has joined with other national health care organizations to develop and endorse principles for client safety in childbirth. These principles promote care based on scientific knowledge, respectful coordination of care between different members of the healthcare team, active involvement of clients and their families in care practices, and a commitment to improving the quality of care. Together, these principles help promote the highest standards for quality and safety in maternity care in the United States. For more information, visit: www.midwife.org

Post-Delivery

After your baby is born, your Certified Nurse Midwife can assist with breastfeeding and infant care. They also provide postnatal office care and GYN visits.

Women’s Healthcare

Nurse Midwives on staff with Kennedy are located at the University Doctors OB/GYN in Washington Township and also in private practice in Mullica Hill. In addition to delivering babies, Nurse Midwives can advise patients about reproductive health, contraception and pregnancy planning. Additionally, Nurse Midwives provide yearly gynecologic examinations.

CenteringPregnancy®

CenteringPregnancy®, currently offered by the Rowan University Midwives, integrates three major components of care -- health assessment, education, and support -- into a unified program held in group setting. Eight to 12 women at a similar stage of their pregnancy meet as a group, learning care skills, participating in a facilitated discussion, and developing a support network over the course of 10 sessions held throughout their pregnancy and early post-delivery. The Nurse Midwife who facilities the group will conduct standard physical health assessments during the meetings.

CenteringPregnancy® groups promote:

  • Self-Care
  • Prolonged provider and patient contact time
  • Empowerment of participants
  • Support and friendship
  • Learning
  • Better birth outcomes
  • Fun!

The Rowan University Midwives offer CenteringPregnancy® prenatal care at their office in Sewell. Call (856)218-0300 for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have a health concern that requires further attention?

Nurse Midwives on staff with Kennedy can easily refer you to one of their consulting physicians or other area providers for further evaluation and treatment or surgical consultation.

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?


Doulas are individuals chosen by an expectant mother to work with her and her family during labor to provide uninterrupted physical and emotional support. They are frequently an integral part of the labor team, surrounding the patient and her partner with encouragement and suggestions for coping with labor. Your midwife’s goal is to do the same, but in addition, they are responsible for monitoring your health and your baby’s health during labor, providing you with information about your progress, giving you options or advice related to your labor, discussing medical decisions as needed and “catching,” or delivering, your baby.

If I have a Kennedy Midwife as my provider where will I give birth?


Kennedy midwives deliver babies at Kennedy University Hospital in Washington Township. The Nurse Midwives strive to provide you with the birth experience that you and your family desire, ranging from natural, low-intervention childbirth to the use of epidurals or higher level evaluation and monitoring. Midwives work to promote normal, healthy birth, but in a setting where medical resources are readily available if needed. If an unexpected intervention is necessary, families are informed and involved in the decision-making process. In addition to its modern yet homelike Maternity Services Unit, Kennedy University Hospital houses Gloucester County’s only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which provides great peace of mind for expectant mothers should their newborn need extra care.

Does insurance cover my care with a midwife?

All forms of insurance in the state of New Jersey cover midwifery care. In some cases, you may need a referral. Check with your insurance company to find out about the specifics of your coverage.

How long are my visits with a midwife?


Following a detailed initial visit, prenatal visits generally are about 15-20 minutes long. Visits are monthly at first, then more frequent as your pregnancy progresses. A visit will include checking your weight and blood pressure, measuring the growth of your baby, listening to the baby’s heartbeat and exploring any problems or questions that you may have. The Nurse Midwives in practice with The University Doctors in Sewell also offer a specialized program called CenteringPregnancy®

Who will deliver my baby?


One of the Certified Nurse Midwives in the medical group you have chosen will deliver your baby when the special day arrives!

If I have my baby with a midwife does it mean that I can’t have pain medications?


Kennedy Nurse Midwives are supportive and respectful of women’s choices regarding their prenatal care, the people present at the birth, the plan you have for labor and giving birth, and the decisions surrounding your pregnancy and birth. These decisions include the option of using pain medications during your delivery.  Your birth experience is a journey-- and one that is sometimes unpredictable -- so they encourage patients to remain open to all options. It is a goal of nurse midwifery care to provide patients with education and choices while they remain in control of their birth experience —one of the most profound moments in a woman’s life.

Can I birth my baby in the water (waterbirth)?


Kennedy does not offer waterbirth, but we do offer the use of hydrotherapy, via  showers and Jacuzzi tubs, to promote pain relief during labor.  Many of our patients use hydrotherapy  at some point during their labor. When it comes time for your baby to be born, if you are in the tub, we will help you to get out of the water. Kennedy University Hospital also offers the use of a Birthing Ball (or Labor Ball), promotes alternate laboring positions and techniques to provide additional comfort to women in labor.

Can I have a vaginal birth after cesarean?


Your midwife will spend time with you during your prenatal care to discuss the option of a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) with you. The decision to have a VBAC is a personal one and often difficult. Your midwife will support and respect the decision you make, whether it is to attempt a VBAC or to have a repeat surgical birth (cesarean section).

What if I need a cesarean birth?


If you need a cesarean birth, the doctors who work with your midwife will do your surgery. Usually this is in labor, but occasionally a c-section is needed before labor begins. Regardless of the time of day or night, there is always a board-certified physician available. In most instances, your midwife will remain with you throughout your surgery and will be present during your recovery. A midwife and doctor will continue to see you for your postpartum stay in the hospital which is normally 3 days (2 days for a vaginal birth).

Will I see a doctor during my prenatal care or birth?


Most women who choose a midwife will not see a doctor during their pregnancy or birth. Kennedy’s midwives work closely with their consulting physicians so that if a complication arises at any point during your pregnancy or labor, they will join the team to help care for you and your baby.

Can I have family members and/or children present at the birth of my child?


Yes! We encourage you to have support from family and friends throughout your birth experience. Your older children are also welcome. It is ideal to have prepared them before the birth so that they know what to expect, what they will see and how they might feel. Kennedy Hospital limits the number of guests in the labor room to 3 at any given time.

Will I get help breastfeeding my baby?


Kennedy University Hospital, which is pursuing “Baby-Friendly” designation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, participates in Best Fed Beginnings, a first-of-its-kind national effort to significantly improve breastfeeding rates in states where rates are currently the lowest. Kennedy is the only hospital in southern New Jersey chosen to participate in the initiative and one of only two in the entire state of New Jersey.