Is Midwifery Care the Right Option for you? | Q&A with the SSM Health Midwife Team

Many women know midwives offer support during labor and delivery, but did you know you can see a midwife for Primary Reproductive Care, too? Certified Nurse-Midwives are Registered Nurses with advanced education and training in midwifery and advanced practice nursing. You are able to see a CNM for any routine care in addition to their role in labor and delivery – including primary care and annual exams, PAPs and health screenings, and other basic gynecological concerns. 

We recently had the chance to talk with a few members of the SSM Health Midwife team (including their newest team member, Amber Latsch) to learn more about their practice and what women can expect when they choose a midwife.

Emily Beaman, DNP, CNM, is a Certified Nurse Midwife and has been part of the SSM Health midwifery team since it formed 3 years ago. Amber Latsch, CNM is her newest partner – an experienced midwife with a background as a doula. Together they work as part of a 4 person team. 

Many thanks to Emily Beaman, DNP, CNM and Amber Latsch, CNM for helping us put together this post and answering all our questions about midwifery care!

What is a Midwife and what type of care does your Midwifery Team offer women?

Emily: Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses with a Doctorate (DNP) or Masters (MSN) who provide comprehensive women’s health care. We specialize in reproductive and primary care from adolescence to menopause.  

Our group of four CNMs provide full-scope holistic pregnancy, labor and delivery care that is support-focused. We spend time getting to know our women and families, and provide care and guidance with an emphasis on the psychological and psychosocial aspects of health and well-being. 

The midwifery model focuses on shared decision-making, education, counseling and support. We are all about choices and autonomy – many women choose midwifery care for these reasons. Our group provides active labor support – your midwife is by your side helping you through your labor and delivery (if that’s what you want).  

In the clinic we offer primary care and annual exams, PAPs and health screenings, family planning and visits for basic gynecological concerns.  

Amber: I am a certified nurse midwife, and I care for pregnant and birthing women as well as women from puberty and beyond for women’s health concerns, birth control, and routine well woman care.

What do you love about your work?

Amber: There is so much I love about what I do, I could probably talk about that for days, but one of my favorite things is witnessing people finding strength and power within themselves that they didn’t know was there. That’s truly the “magic” of birth.  

Emily: I love so much about my work – I have the world’s best job! I get to be with women and their partners as they welcome new life. I get to witness unbelievable love and joy and watch couples become families. I get to hold my patients with both my arms and my heart as they navigate some of the biggest emotions there are – both the happy and sad.  

I especially love helping women work through past traumas and find their voice and their power. Birth can be incredibly healing.  

What is a typical day like for you?

Emily: During a typical clinic day, I see patients for all of the above-mentioned visit types.  We see a lot of pregnant women, so many of my visits are prenatal and postpartum care visits, usually with a few annual/gynecological visits and IUD/Nexplanon insertions sprinkled in family planning.  

When I’m on-call and with a laboring woman at the hospital, you can find me in a variety of positions working to support and care for her through her journey.  

On Tuesdays I run a postpartum mom’s group (currently meeting on zoom) – this is one of the highlights of my week. The postpartum period is so tumultuous – I love being part of a community of women supporting other women through this time.  

*FYI – the group is open to ALL postpartum mamas, regardless of where they delivered! And it’s FREE! And non-committal! And so wonderful and supportive. Find us on Facebook: SSM Health New Beginnings: 4th Trimester Postpartum Group for the zoom link and join us on Tuesdays from 10-1130. Come as you are: tired, messy, late, cranky babe in-tow, etc, etc.  We all get it; we’re all mamas!

What is something people might not know about midwifery care?

Emily: The midwifery model of care is a holistic approach which emphasizes women-centered care. Our CNMs advocate for each woman’s individual health goals and wishes, and build lasting relationships with their patients. CNMs manage many of the primary care needs of women from the early teen years throughout a woman’s childbearing years and into menopause.

Some still have the common misconception that midwives only attend home birth, and don’t realize they have the option for midwifery care at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Madison.

There is also a misconception regarding who is appropriate for midwifery care – many people believe that they may be too high risk to see the midwife group, or that if they see a midwife, they won’t have the option for pain control during labor.  

Our midwives manage many health conditions and complications of pregnancy and have an excellent collaborative relationship with the OB generalists and MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) for women needing surgical intervention or advanced medical care.  We offer all of the same screening options during pregnancy and all of the pain relief options that are available to any women who deliver at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Madison. We also love working with our fabulous community Doulas! 

Amber: Many women don’t realize midwifery care can include primary care, annual exams, PAPs and other health screening. Our small practice gives us the opportunity to develop relationships with our patients and offer personal, compassionate care. 

In addition, the SSM midwives have the unique opportunity to provide longer appointment times and one of four midwives is guaranteed to be present during your birth. This is especially helpful for people who may be feeling a bit more anxious about labor and birth, or who have a strong preference for a female birth attendant. Because we work collaboratively with a great group of physicians, women in our care always have access to immediate emergency intervention if needed, and they will receive kind and respectful care no matter how their birth unfolds. For those who are interested in having a natural birth, midwives are experts in this field, and we are unique in that we offer continuous labor support to our patients.

If you’d like more information about the midwifery practice at SSM Health, please visit SSM Health’s website
This post is sponsored by our partners at SSM Health - St. Mary's. We are happy to share relevant content form our partners with our audience!
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