What is a Midwife?

At Virginia Complete Care for Women, our Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) Ashlie Buell, Courtney Subudhi and Tanya Baca deliver holistic, mom-and-baby centered care. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, CNMs are registered nurses with graduate education in midwifery. They have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). This education includes a university degree as well as hands-on clinical training by practicing CNMs. They also have passed the national certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

What is the difference between a Midwife and an Obstetrician?

Both Midwives and Obstetricians are completely focused on the health of you and your baby, and both want the very best experience and outcomes for you.

Ob/Gyn providers complete four years of medical school beyond an undergraduate degree, a four-year residency, during which they hone and practice their skills, and for many, a fellowship period during which time they hyperspecialize in a certain area of women's health such as fertility or maternal-fetal medicine.

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are also highly trained and require a Registered Nursing (RN) degree, as well as a multi-year master's degree program in midwifery. The majority of midwives also possess bachelor's degrees.

Midwife expertise is focused around normal, healthy pregnancies.

The saying "low tech, high touch" is often used with regard to midwifery. They are focused on providing the most comfortable and supportive birth environment possible for mothers, their partners, and their new babies. Our midwives also lead our Centering Pregnancy® group prenatal care program, during which women experience care in a group setting, able to learn from each other and share in the experience of pregnancy together.

Ob/Gyn providers, also skilled at normal maternity care, are surgically trained and their presence is required for any type of birth intervention, even the usage of forceps or vacuum in progressing a delivery. Because they are the ones trained and legally required to carry out these procedures, the perception is that care from a traditional Ob/Gyn is more likely to result in intervention, though that is not necessarily true.

Choosing Your Provider

There are many factors to consider when choosing your provider for prenatal, labor, and delivery care. Midwives often spend more time with their patients during appointments, counseling them on nutrition and parenting techniques, preparing for breastfeeding, and other areas of concern. They are often present during the majority of your laboring period at the hospital, whereas an Ob/Gyn is usually summoned as you reach the final, crucial stages before the baby is born.

Many midwife patients use traditional medical pain management such as an epidural during labor, but midwives also encourage natural methods of pain management, such as breathing techniques, showers, hydrotheraphy, and massage.

We look forward to partnering with you in developing your birth plan, choosing a provider, and understanding all of the modern amenities and options available to you as you bring new life into the world, even if you are a seasoned pro at motherhood. We also embrace doula care, and know that a strongly supported mother is the best foundation for new life.