Midwifery Care at Whidbey General
Melissa Stone holds 3-month-old daughter Ava, who was delivered by Certified Nurse Midwife Sarah Meyer at the Whidbey Family Birthplace.
“My childbirth experience was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be,” says Melissa Stone of Coupeville, who gave birth to daughter Ava in January 2014. “As a first-time mom I was nervous to give birth, but Sarah and the amazing nurses were so comforting and helpful every step of the way.”
Ava was delivered at the Whidbey Family Birthplace by Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Sarah Meyer, who practices with Dr. Robert Burnett and Dr. Melissa Chinn at Island Women’s Healthcare. CNMs are registered nurses with advanced degrees in nurse-midwifery who pass a national certification exam. They are experts in supporting women in normal, healthy childbirth.
More Choices for Mom
With two skilled obstetrician/gynecologists and an experienced midwife, Island Women's Healthcare provides expectant mothers on the island with more options than ever before. They can now experience a midwife’s natural approach to childbirth and deliver in a comfortable setting with immediate access to specialized medical care should the need arise.
About 95% of Certified Nurse Midwife/Certified Midwife-attended births in 2011 occurred in hospitals.
Source: American College of Nurse Midwives
CNMs view pregnancy and birth as normal life events and use medical procedures only when there is a specific concern for the health of the mother or baby.
“As a midwife I am inspired every day by the miracle of pregnancy and birth,” says Meyer. “I love being able to teach, listen, encourage and support women and their families during this pivotal time in their life.”
Providing midwifery care is consistent with the trend toward reducing unnecessary medical intervention in childbirth. Whidbey General is one of 17 hospitals in the state participating in Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics, a Washington State Hospital Association initiative that seeks to “ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies.”
“Healthy women with normal pregnancies generally don’t require medical intervention to give birth, with good outcomes for both mom and baby,” notes Meyer. “A good midwifery candidate is a young woman in good health with an uncomplicated pregnancy history.”
Not only are CNMs skilled in prenatal care, labor and postpartum care with a particular emphasis on breastfeeding, but they also provide a full range of women’s healthcare needs. Meyer provides routine gynecologic care such as check-ups and well woman exams. She assists with family planning, adolescent reproductive health concerns and perimenopausal and menopausal care.
Midwives provide careful education, support and monitoring through pregnancy and birth. However, sometimes problems occur that require procedures during pregnancy or childbirth. If this happens, CNMs have the education and skill to prescribe pain medication including epidurals, induce labor or bring in another member of the healthcare team if needed. Unlike some hospitals, the Whidbey Family Birthplace has a board-certified obstetrician on call 24/7.
A Team Approach
Island Women’s Healthcare practices team obstetrics, which means that a woman may see Dr. Burnett, Dr. Chinn or CNM Meyer for prenatal care. “The office staff, labor and deliveries nurses and physicians all work very closely together to provide the best care for a woman and her family,” says Meyer.
Midwives are all about education. - Sarah Meyer, CNM, ARNP
A woman opting for a midwifery birth plan with Meyer will spend more time in appointments learning about topics such as nutrition, the progression of pregnancy and what to expect during labor. “Midwives are all about education,” says Meyer, a native of New Zealand who has been a certified nurse midwife for 20 years.
Stone, 25, saw both Dr. Chinn and CNM Meyer for prenatal care. “I enjoyed working with Sarah as well as Dr. Chinn. Sarah was very informative and helpful. During the delivery she did a great job coaching me through it and I felt like I was in good hands with her,” says Stone. “If we decide to have another baby I hope we will be fortunate enough to have Sarah available for us.”
“I love helping women find their inner strength and courage as they progress on their path to motherhood,” says Meyer.
“Women sometimes prefer to work with a midwife but want comprehensive care available in case complications arise” says Linda Gipson, RN, PhD, Whidbey General Chief Nursing Officer. “Sarah provides a more natural approach in an environment of safety. It really is the best of both worlds.”
Visit KUOW Seattle public radio's website for “Why Whidbey General Hospital Called the Midwife” on efforts to reduce the number of medically unnecessary, low risk C-sections.
Island Women’s Healthcare
201 NE Birch Street
Coupeville, WA 98239
Whidbey Family Birthplace
Whidbey General Hospital
101 N. Main Street
Coupeville, WA 98239
360-678-7656, ext. 1300
360-321-7656, ext. 1300