Healthy You - Every Day

Nurse Midwives: Our Revitalized Approach

Nurse midwives offer individualized care for low-risk pregnancies and childbirth


Midwifery care is a growing and welcome part of our obstetrics and gynecology team. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), midwives play a special role in providing exceptional care to women. Midwifery care is safe and satisfying, and it is unique and personalized. In addition, midwives give extra support to patients and focus on building trusting relationships with patients and families.

Complementary care

Together with obstetricians, laborists and maternal fetal medicine specialists, certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are important members of the maternity care team. CNMs specialize in nurturing, hands-on care during labor and are licensed to deliver uncomplicated lowrisk pregnancies. They also administer medication and assist physicians during cesarean sections. Midwives help improve the birthing experience through their “holistic” (whole woman) approach to pregnancy care. The partnership of physicians and midwives allows for two pregnancy and childbirth experts who provide the best care based on patients’ individualized needs.

According to certified nurse midwife Nissa Gossom, CNM, with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology–Pond Road, the styles of obstetricians and midwives are complementary. “Obstetricians complete a surgical residency, and their specialty is full scope obstetric care including higher risk conditions and surgical cases,” Gossom says. “As midwives, we provide a safety net for normal pregnancies. We listen to what our patient wants and needs for her pregnancy. We also are trained to recognize changes during normal pregnancies, and will transfer care to one of our obstetricians when necessary.”

In many cases, low-risk pregnancies that develop a complication during childbirth are managed by both an obstetrician and a midwife.

“Midwives focus on the needs of patients and have expertise to educate and care for expectant mothers,” says Karina Reed, MD, practice leader at LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology. “But our midwives also assist if a lowrisk patient needs a C-section or a complicated repair after delivery, so that the patient has constant support and continuity in care.”

Growing the midwifery program

Leaders at LVHN recognize the value of certified nurse midwives working alongside obstetricians and highlight the need for growth of the midwifery program.

“Having a team that covers the wide range of our patient population is important,” says Sherilyn Gibbs, DNP, CNM, Director, Midwifery at LVHN. “It gives patients options, and having both low-risk providers and high-risk specialists available to patients greatly improves statistics and outcomes associated with childbirth.”

LVH–Cedar Crest Midwifery

At Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, the full-time midwifery staff has more than tripled in the past 18 months. In addition to birthing care, certified nurse midwives also provide low-risk gynecology services in a medical office.

“We are optimistic that we are enriching the women’s health experience at LVHN,” Gibbs says. “There are are many women seeking the personalization and specialization that comes with midwifery care, and we plan to provide it for them in balance with physician expertise.”

LVHN Obstetric and Newborn Services Locations

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