The Midwives of MedStar Washington Hospital Center are dedicated to the delivery of exceptional care to women and their families across the Washington, D.C. region. They are committed to achieving optimal health outcomes by offering safe, evidence-based, family-centered and individually responsive care.
The practice recently introduced a new option for women giving birth at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is another method to use for pain relief while in labor. The blend is a lower concentration from the form used during dental care, and is designed so women maintain consciousness during labor- a safe, non-invasive alternative for those desiring a low intervention birth experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a health care provider trained in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Midwives provide primary health care to women of all ages, during pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, for gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal management. Midwives believe that interventions should be kept at a minimum unless medically necessary. The Midwives of MedStar provide services at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center and its out-patient office sites. We attend births on the Labor and Delivery Unit at the hospital. We work independently but have access to the team of physicians at MedStar Washington for consultation and referral if needed.
How does midwifery care differ from physician care?
Generally, the medical care we provide will be very similar to that provided in a regular OB/GYN office.We see patients every month at the beginning of pregnancy, every two weeks from 28 weeks and every week from 36 weeks to delivery. We offer all the routine prenatal testing available including blood work and sonograms. We spend a lot of time discussing your individual situation, concerns and desires. We spend a lot of time on education to help you maintain a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby vaginally. We employ a "High Touch, Low Tech” approach whenever possible.
We specialize in laboring mothers who desire un-medicated birth. We spend time supporting you through your labor in order to facilitate a normal vaginal delivery of a healthy baby with as little intervention as possible. We encourage mobility, use of birthing balls and showers while intermittently monitoring fetal well-being. We also encourage, teach, and support breastfeeding through the use of skin-to-skin contact.
What should you expect when you initiate care with Midwives of MedStar?
Women who are new to our midwifery practice when initiating prenatal care attend a 45 minute practice orientation provided by a midwife and our nurse coordinator. This visit is for patients and their invited support people -- it is NOT a general information session (please see our schedule for Meet the Midwives Open House if you are interested in general information). During this first visit, women complete initial enrollment paperwork and health history forms; receive our electronic patient education and resource bank; and participate in our early pregnancy education discussion. This visit is conducted as a small group of about 5 to 8 patients. At this visit, women receive an appointment for their individual follow-up with one of our midwives and this one-on-one appointment occurs during the subsequent week. During this one-on-one appointment, your midwife will review and clarify your health history, complete the physical exam, and develop an individualized plan of care for your pregnancy.
What if I have a complication during pregnancy or experience an emergency during labor?
Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and labor. If complications do arise, we will work closely with the team of staff obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and neonatologists at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to determine the best course of action. We will remain involved in your care even if primary management is transferred to the physicians.
Can I choose which midwife I want to deliver my baby?
The Midwives of MedStar work closely together. So although you may not have met each of us over the course of the pregnancy, we discuss all of our patients together at least once a month. We know you even if you do not know us. The midwives as a group cover our patients 24/7 and rotate our on call schedule, therefore, you will not be able to choose who will be at the birth. We understand the anxieties that surround labor and birth and your need to feel as secure as possible. We get to know our patients very well during the labor process and are able to provide each of you with the individualized care you desire.
What if I want pain medication or an epidural during labor?
The Midwives of MedStar will provide a labor experience that is in keeping with safety and patient satisfaction. Should you desire pain medication, the midwives can help you choose which is best for you given your individual circumstances. We have anesthesiologists on the Labor unit at all times who are available to us as we need. A variety of pain management options, including epidurals, are available.
Do you allow vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?
In general, we and the OB department at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, support Trial of Labor after Cesarean and VBAC for women who desire it and whose medical circumstances allow it. There are rare cases in which a trial of labor is not advised. Please discuss your individual circumstances with the midwives. Your individual circumstances will be reviewed and assessed during your initial visit.
How long do I have to stay in the hospital after my delivery?
Typical hospital stays for a normal vaginal delivery are 48 hours. Typical stays after a Cesarean Section are 72 hours. However, we have recently started a voluntary early discharge program. Healthy moms and babies with uncomplicated deliveries now have the option to leave the hospital 24 hours after birth. Please speak with your midwife after you deliver to determine if you meet the criteria for an early discharge.
What if I’m not pregnant, not planning to have a baby, or done with childbearing, can I still see a midwife?
Absolutely! The Midwives of MedStar provide routine gynecological care for women of all ages including annual physical exams, breast exams, pap smears, birth control, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, as well as peri-menopausal care.
To schedule an appointment with a certified nurse midwife, please call our scheduling line.
Physicians Office Building,
106 Irving Street, NW,
North Tower 4400,
Washington, D.C., 20010
Our midwives are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week for labor management and emergency phone calls.
Office hours vary during the week, updated information is available at any time:
Monthly Meet and Greet -
Join us for our monthly "Meet and Greet" the second Wednesday of every month in Medical Affairs conference room 121 A/B at 6 p.m.
This is an opportunity for anyone interested in knowing more about Midwifery services at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to ask us questions and get to know members of our team.
No pre-registration is required.
Call 202-877-7128 for more information.
Walking Tours & Maternity Classes
To prepare you for your birthing experience, please join us for a walking tour of our maternity facilities or browse our catalog of prenatal, postpartum, and childbirth classes.