Depending on where we live in the United States, collaborative care between midwives and obstetricians/gynecologist varies considerably.
For Brattleboro OB/GYN and Four Seasons Midwifery, a collaborative approach has existed since opening of the practice. In 2001, Lois Trezise, CNM, joined Brattleboro OB/GYN as their first midwife. A collaborative relationship occurred naturally with a strong commitment between the three providers to deliver continuity of care for women seeking maternity and gynecology care.
Over the past 13 years, our practice has grown to include three certified nurse midwives and three obstetricians/gynecologist. After hiring our third midwife, we established a midwifery model of care. The name of our practice changed to Brattleboro OB/GYN and Four Seasons Midwifery reflecting our collaborative relationship.
Midwives recognize pregnancy and birth as a natural event. With a midwifery model of care most women’s prenatal visits will be with one of the midwives. We take this time to educate, provide support, and establish a connection with our expectant mothers and their families. Our hands on care is welcomed. At the same time, we are observant practitioners, skillfully accessing findings and identifying complications should one develop. Some pregnant women may find themselves having their prenatal care transferred to another health setting because of their high risk status. This often results in severed ties with the midwives they have come to know and trust. This is when having a well-established collaborative practice in place, like at Brattleboro OB/GYN and Four Seasons Midwifery, provides not only the care but additional support for these women with risk factors.
Midwives and obstetricians strive for the same outcomes; to keep our expectant mother healthy, even if a complication occurs and for a safe birth of her baby. Meeting this goal requires collaboration and if necessary, allows for a smooth transition of care from a normal low risk pregnancy to a high risk.
Collaborative maternity care embraces something greater than simply working together. It requires a high level of trust, respect, accountability, and open communication between midwives and obstetricians. By utilizing collaborative maternity we are able to achieve our goals of providing expert quality prenatal care, continuity of care and a midwifery model of care for our patients. For women with identified pregnancy complications or risk factors, their care is developed and coordinated between the midwife and the obstetrician. This allows a woman’s prenatal visits and birth to continue under the care of the midwives.
In 2011, the American College of Nurse Midwives and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists signed a collaborative practice statement. The creation of this stated agreement strengthens the midwifery model of providing maternity and gynecology care to all women. The true benefactors of formally establishing this collaboration are women.
Here at Brattleboro OB/GYN and Four Seasons Midwifery, we remain committed to a collaborative practice for all women throughout their life cycles.