Common Misconceptions of Nurse-Midwives in Popular Culture

The word midwife typically brings up one of three mental images: 1. An old, wise woman that handles childbirth in a ritualistic manner 2. An under qualified “specialist” for yuppies who are enticed by hip advertising or 3. Something about giving birth in a bathtub.

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Midwifery has been depicted on occasion in pop culture without any distinction made between midwives and nurse-midwives, most recently in The Mindy Project.

In the show, Mindy Lahri is an exceptional doctor with a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology with a successful practice, until two Zen-loving male midwives start poaching her clients. At the end of the episode Mindy confronts the men, demonstrating their inability to deal with any major health concerns that might flare up during a pregnancy.

Nurse-midwives actually hold a master’s or doctorate-level degrees, are nationally certified after demonstrating competency through an exam process, and licensed through their state Board of Nursing as advanced practice registered nurses, who in most states have full prescriptive authority.

Nurse-midwives are not only qualified experts at attending childbirth; they are healthcare professionals educated in Advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment and advanced pharmacology, capable of providing general and gynecologic care to women at all stages of pregnancy and throughout the lifespan.

Nurse-midwives often work as part of a team of medical professionals to ensure high quality care for each patient. Many have practices with their own offices, but other nurse-midwives work within hospitals as well.

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Nurse-midwives have specialties that allow them to care for women throughout the entire process of pregnancy. Nurse-midwives are trained in counseling, to help cater to the emotional needs of pregnant women and help them prepare for the physiological and psychological implications of becoming a mother.

Despite what popular culture might suggest, nurse-midwives are fantastic, qualified specialists who can help ensure not only that a baby is healthy, but the child’s mother too.

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