Certified Nurse Midwives: OB and GYN
Published in The Woman Today magazine, December/January issue
When people hear ‘midwife’, they typically think babies. “There’s this common misconception that all a midwife does is help with a woman’s pregnancy and delivery,” explains Amanda St. Aubin, CNM at St. Luke’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates. While this may be the case for some midwives, it’s not true for all of them. Depending on the level of training, a midwife can have a much broader scope than just helping with pregnancies.
What is a CNM?
Midwives can be broken down into many levels of training, including certified professional midwives (CPM), certified midwives (CM), and certified nurse midwives (CNM). A certified nurse midwife will complete the broadest level of training, equipping them with additional knowledge of women’s health beyond pregnancy.
“A certified nurse midwife is an advanced practice nurse who specializes in women’s health as a whole,” Amanda explained. “We are qualified to help with pregnancies as well as deliver care throughout a woman’s lifespan, puberty to menopause.” From family planning, STD screenings, and medication prescriptions to regular exams like pap smears and breast exams, a certified nurse midwife is able to provide many of the same services as an OB/GYN.
With a holistic mindset, a CNM aims to focus on the person as a whole. “We don’t want to just treat a woman’s condition and overlook her as an individual,” said Scot Hart, CNM at St. Luke’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates. “I make an effort to spend time building a relationship with each of my patients.”
Pursing their passion
Each with a desire to help people, Scot and Amanda became midwives to make a difference. Transitioning from the Peace Corps after high school to the Army, Scot served two tours in Iraq facilitating medical missions for people without access to health care. This time in the military helped him to identify his passion for medicine as well as helping others. Going directly from the Army into nursing school, Scot continued to narrow his focus until he settled on midwifery.
Amanda’s interest and expertise in women’s health grew as she first worked as a nurse in labor and delivery. While doing volunteer work in other countries, she began to notice the use of midwives, and decided to become one herself.
“I love being a midwife because not only do I get to focus on women’s health, which is a passion of mine, but also I found that women tend to be the decision-makers for the health of their families,” explained Amanda. She has found that by encouraging a woman towards healthy living, an entire family can change for the better.
“I also really like working with women when they’re coming in for their first experience because it can be a scary thing for them,” Amanda pointed out. “Nobody loves pap smears or getting their annual pelvic exam, but being a welcoming person who helps women know that each of these things is normal and healthy is something I really enjoy. I like making it less awkward for them.”
Scot shares a similar passion for women’s health. “Typically people become midwives because of the babies,” he said with a smile. “However, while I was training to become a midwife, I also realized that by helping women stay healthy I could make a big difference in people’s lives.”
Seeing a CNM for care
A woman does not need to have or be planning to have children to see a midwife for care. Since CNMs are experts in normal gynecological needs, they are perfectly qualified to see any woman who doesn’t have major complications or health concerns. “If a woman is considering seeing a midwife as her primary women’s health provider, I would encourage her to do so — especially if she is just coming in for routine exams or health maintenance. Midwives are experts at those things,” Amanda said.
Midwives can provide women’s health care throughout a woman’s life, from her first period through menopause and beyond. This includes help with preconception, family planning, infertility, PMS/PMDD, sexual health, menopause management and more.
To schedule an appointment with Scot or Amanda at St. Luke’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates, call 218.249.4700.