Midwife FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Midwives

What is a midwife?

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are licensed health care practitioners educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery and are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They provide health care to women of childbearing age including:

  • Prenatal care
  • Labor and delivery care
  • Care after birth
  • Gynecological exams
  • Newborn care
  • Assistance with family planning decisions
  • Preconception care
  • Menopausal management
  • Counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention

Why choose a midwife?

The word midwife means “with woman.” Midwives practice under a philosophy of care that focuses on becoming partners in health care rather than simply providing care. Midwives are highly educated professionals who work collaboratively with physicians and provide patients with a safe mechanism for consultation, collaboration and referral.

Can I still have anesthesia with a midwife?

Yes. Certified nurse midwives provide support to their clients during labor regardless of their decision to use anesthesia. Scripps midwives support epidurals, local anesthesia and natural childbirth. Before labor, they can provide you with education on how and when to use these different methods to help guide your birth plan. Whether you choose anesthesia or natural childbirth, the certified nurse midwives’ mission remains the same: Caring for and empowering women and their families.

Do midwives do VBACs?

A vaginal birth after cesarean, commonly referred to as a VBAC, is when a woman delivers a baby vaginally after a previous C-section. Not all women are eligible to attempt a VBAC delivery. The decision to have a VBAC should be discussed with your OB-GYN provider.

The midwives at Scripps do assist women with vaginal birth after cesarean section deliveries. They do this collaboratively with the attending physician at the hospital. The question of VBAC safety is one that must be answered on an individual basis depending on the type of scar, the reason for the cesarean section and plans for the conduct of labor.

Read more about VBAC deliveries.

Scripps midwives available at all Scripps locations?

No. Delivery with a midwife is available through Scripps Clinic with delivery at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Prenatal care and delivery is available through Scripps Coastal Medical Center with delivery at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.