With a nationwide trend of more women opting for natural births and a new emphasis placed on midwife services in the Affordable Care Act, Southampton Hospital acknowledged National Midwifery Week on Friday by hosting “The Birth Monologues,” in which women from throughout the East End shared their birthing experiences with each other, as well as with expectant mothers.
The night was in honor of Betty Commander, longtime nurse manager of the hospital’s Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center. It featured two local midwives from Hamptons Gynecology and Obstetrics who have either assisted or performed many births at the hospital—certified nurse-midwife and lactation consultants Stacey Brosnan and Julia Chachere.
National Midwifery Week, created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, is designed to bring awareness to the integral role midwives often play not only in the birthing experience but in the overall health and well-being of women, according to the ACNM’s website. In addition to providing birthing services, midwives are certified to provide general health care services, gynecology care, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, menopause care, and family planning services—often in a more intimate and personal fashion than can be provided by an obstetrician-gynecologist who sees many more patients, Ms. Brosnan said.
Recognizing that many women are choosing the path of a midwife over or in addition to an obstetrician-gynecologist for their delivery and prenatal care, Southampton Hospital offers midwifery services through Hamptons Gynecology and Obstetrics for patients.
“We are proud to be able to offer midwifery at Southampton Hospital,” said Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert Chaloner. “Nurse midwives are an integral part of our maternal and child health team with a patient focus that is rooted in the notion that pregnancy is not an illness but a unique and miraculous part of the life cycle.”
According to those in attendance Friday night, Ms. Commander was a key factor in the hospital recognizing the benefits of midwives. Mr. Chaloner said she “is to be congratulated for her lengthy service to Southampton Hospital and especially for her vision and leadership in guiding the development of our Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center. Betty has been the steady constant in assuring that care is delivered with the utmost safety and the highest degree of compassion.”
With the changing environment of the nation’s health care system, midwifery services look to be ever more popular, because the Affordable Care Act guarantees the right of women to choose a midwife.
“Maybe our services will be more popular, because a larger pool of people will have our services covered by their insurance,” Ms. Brosnan said on Friday night. “But our role really won’t change all that much. We will still be there to provide personalized care for all women who choose,” she said, adding that her and her colleagues will still work alongside obstetrician-gynecologists if a woman chooses to use their services as a supplement to the traditional delivery methods.