Providing care for women throughout their lifetime

When you choose midwifery care, you’ll receive natural, holistic care from Ohio State’s Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM). Our advanced practice, registered nurses are specially trained in gynecologic and obstetrical care.

When it comes to pregnancy and delivery, studies show that women who choose a midwife for care may experience fewer hospitalizations during pregnancy, fewer episiotomies, and feel more in control during childbirth.

In addition to supporting you throughout pregnancy and delivery, our midwives can connect you with additional resources throughout all stages of life.

Source: Hatem M, Sandall J, Devane D, Soltani H, Gates S. Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004667. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004667.pub2

Why Choose Ohio State?

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center’s comprehensive midwifery program provides the care you want, when you want it. Here are some reasons expectant mothers choose our midwives:

  • We offer hydrotherapy (laboring in the tub or shower).
  • We focus on providing personalized care, incorporating your individual needs into your care plan.
  • We have premium delivery rooms for mothers-to-be, including renovated, private rooms and services for dads/partners/support people.
  • We are the only hospital that offers hydrotherapy.
  • Our midwives show a commitment to women and their birth choices by providing continuous labor support.
  • Our state-of-the-art facility includes the latest equipment and resources for every kind of pregnancy and delivery.
Labor, delivery, and midwifery at Ohio State

Labor, delivery, and midwifery at Ohio State

Jonathan Schaffir, MD, describes the benefits of choosing obstetrical care at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. For low-risk patients, OSU even offers midwifery services.

Our Services

Ohio State’s Midwifery Program offers comprehensive care in obstetrics and gynecology for women of all ages. Our midwives provide a compassionate approach to all aspects of women’s health care. We currently offer midwifery care at two locations. OSU midwives offers a variety of care including:

  • Annual well-woman exams
  • Methods of contraception
  • Pregnancy care and delivery
  • Prescriptions
  • Treatment for common infections

In addition, if you develop a medical condition that requires more specialized treatment, our midwives refer you to an obstetrician or other specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a certified nurse-midwife (CNM)?

A CNM is a type of advanced practice nurse. CNMs are registered nurses (RNs) who also completed graduate education and training specializing in midwifery. CNMs are certified by the state to provide a lifetime of care for women, including routine gynecologic care, birth control options, as well as pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care. In Ohio, CNMs work with physicians in a collaborative agreement. Visit www.mymidwife.org for more information.

Why do people use CNMs?

Women who choose a midwife are generally looking for a provider who will offer them choice in their healthcare options, and a partner in helping them make important decisions regarding their health. Midwives have provided this type of care for hundreds of years. As midwives, we consider ourselves experts in normal pregnancy and birth.

Here are some good explanations from the web site, mymidwife.org:

“When you decide to visit a midwife, you can expect a special kind of care. Some midwives spend up to an hour with first-time patients, and all midwives stay with women through the entire birth process. Midwives strive to become partners in care rather than simply providers of health care.”

“Midwives approach birth, puberty and menopause as normal life events rather than potential medical emergencies. These are times when women need special education or support, but nobody needs to cure or fix them. Midwives believe that if women are given the correct information, they can make safe and satisfying choices.”

“Midwives are trained to recognize complications early and refer you for appropriate care. In a midwife you’ll find the best of health care and human support in one savvy professional.”

Do you attend deliveries at home?

No. While we support a woman's right to give birth where and with whom she chooses, we are not permitted by our malpractice companies to attend home births.

Are you anti-pain medication/anti-epidural?

No. We believe in informed choice. If, given accurate information, a woman believes an epidural or pain medication is the correct choice for her, we will support her in that decision.

Where do you attend deliveries?

We attend deliveries exclusively at the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University.

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Will my insurance cover a midwife?

We accept most insurance policies including Medicaid, Caresource and Molina. Tricare is the only insurance plan that OSU does not have a contract with, but we hope to see that change in the near future.

Can I just see the CNMs? When would I see the obstetrician?

If you are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy, then most likely you will only have visits with the midwives. If complications arise during your pregnancy, you may have a visit with one of the physicians in our practice. During labor, if an emergency arises, one of the staff physicians will be immediately available.

Do you have experience with the Bradley Method? Hypnobirthing? Hypnobabies?

Yes. We are familiar with each option and have worked successfully with women who are using them in their childbirth. This is another decision we will support you in when you decide what is best for you.

Can I have a doula?

We welcome doulas at your birth.

Can I labor/give birth in any position?

Absolutely. Not only are we fine with changing position, we strongly encourage it. We find that keeping mothers moving throughout labor is helpful for pain relief, as well as for correctly positioning baby. We are familiar with the majority of birthing positions and will help find the one that feels best for you at that moment.

Do I have to be hooked up to monitors the whole time?

If the pregnancy is normal and full term, most women are generally not on the monitor the entire time. Upon arrival to labor and delivery, you’ll be placed on the monitor for 20 minutes to evaluate baby, and ensure that baby is handling labor just fine. If all is well and you fit the criteria, we follow the intermittent monitoring guidelines established by Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. This entails listening to baby every 30 minutes before, during and after a contraction during active labor, and every 15 minutes during the pushing stage. We’re happy to discuss this policy with you further.

Do I have to have an IV?

No, although we prefer our patients to have an IV port placed in case of emergency. This would not be attached to anything and you would still have the freedom to move around.

Can I labor in the tub or the shower?

Yes. We know that hydrotherapy is very beneficial for pain relief. In the early stages of active labor we encourage using the shower. Once we know that labor is firmly established, we are then fine with entering into the labor tub. We want to ensure that the relaxing effects of the warm water do not slow labor down.

Do you offer waterbirth?

Due to the recent opinion statement by the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists concerning waterbirth, we have unfortunately had to stop offering waterbirth as an option until we have a research trial in place. We are currently working on designing a trial and hope to be offering waterbirth again very soon. Please note that laboring in the tub is still encouraged.

What if I'm Group Beta Strep (GBS) positive?

The recommendation for women who are GBS positive is to be treated with IV antibiotics while in labor. This generally does not restrict your freedom to move around or labor and/or birth in the water if you choose.

Do you do routine episiotomies?

We do not cut episiotomies routinely. If a baby is in distress and needs to be born immediately, the decision to cut an episiotomy might be made, though this rarely happens. Our current rate of episiotomy is approximately five percent.

Do you practice delayed cord clamping?

Waiting for the cord to stop pulsating before clamping and cutting is a practice we are very familiar with and routinely engage in.

Can my husband/boyfriend/partner cut the cord?

Absolutely. If all is well with your birth and baby, we are happy to allow your partner to cut the cord. We understand that the birth of a baby means the birth of an entire family, so partner involvement is very important.

I want to breastfeed right away. Is that OK?

Yes!

What if I want to decline the Vitamin K injectin or erythromycin eye ointment for my baby?

In deciding to decline medication or treatment, we ask, as in everything else, that you are educated in your decision. For this reason, we recommend discussing this option with your pediatrician. If you decide that declining one or the other is the best option for your family, you’ll be asked by the nursing staff to sign a waiver at admission.

How soon after delivery can I leave?

Mothers generally do great after childbirth. An early discharge at 24 hours is something we support as long as the mother is stable. More concerning is how baby is doing in the first 24 hours. We recommend speaking with your pediatrician about his/her policy on early discharge.

Do you attend VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean)?

Yes. We are happy to offer this option to women who are delivering their babies at the Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University.

What is your Cesarean section rate?

We understand that C-section is major surgery. Because of that, we work very hard to ensure that when it is needed, it is absolutely medically necessary. Our current rate of Cesarean section is 13 percent.

Will medical students or residents be involved in my birth?

Although Ohio State is a major medical center and teaching hospital, resident and medical student involvement in your birth process should be minimal, if at all. If you are sent for evaluation for possible labor or a problem, you may receive care from a resident at that time. However, please know that they are simply evaluating you, and notifying the midwife on call of their findings. The midwife or collaborating physician is in charge of your care at all times. On a side note, if you are willing to have a resident or medical student observe your birth, it is a great experience for them to witness natural childbirth and learn from it. Of course, allowing their presence is always your choice.

Which midwife will delivery my baby?

We work as a team here at Ohio State, and because of that we like each woman to have several prenatal appointments with each midwife. We split call evenly because we want you to feel comfortable with whomever is on call when you go into labor.

Our Experts

ElizabethAustin

Elizabeth Austin, CNM

Beth received a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where she discovered her passion for women's healthcare and midwifery. In 2007, she earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree, specializing in Nurse-Midwifery, from Vanderbilt University. Before moving to Columbus in 2013, she practiced in Cleveland and attended births at Lakewood Hospital, a "Baby Friendly" hospital. Beth is excited to expand midwifery services at Ohio State and increase access to midwifery care in Columbus. She has special interests in contraception, water birth and empowering women to be active decision makers in their healthcare choices.

PatriciaDodge

Patricia Dodge, CNM

Pat Dodge became a certified nurse midwife in 1997 after many years as a labor and delivery nurse. She studied midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing and earned her Masters degree from Case Western Reserve University. She has been a longtime champion of midwifery and performed one of the first underwater births in Columbus in 1998. Her interests are low intervention birth, midlife health, and empowering women and families to be active decision makers in their healthcare. For fun she tends her vegetable garden, reads, helps out in her son’s cafe, and travels whenever possible.

LaurieMacLeod

Laurie MacLeod, CNM

Laurie completed her bachelor's degree at the University of Cincinnati and then worked as a labor and delivery nurse. She graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2006. She worked in Albuquerque in private practice for several years. She is excited to be back in her hometown and to be a part of the growth of midwifery at Ohio State. Laurie partners with patients to educate them about their health and empowers them to become active participants in their health care. Laurie enjoys the relationship that develops through caring for women and their families during pregnancy and beyond. Laurie and her husband have two young children.

Emily Neiman

Emily Neiman, CNM

Emily pursued nurse-midwifery beginning in 2005 and graduated from the Ohio State University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Science and a certificate in nurse-midwifery. Emily has experience with both in-hospital and out-of-hospital births and is committed to offering women options in the hospital setting. She is passionate about working with women throughout their lives, and particularly during pregnancy and birth. She believes strongly that pregnancy and birth are normal, natural life events and works to partner with women in their care.

CassandraSampsell

Cassandra Sampsell, CNM

Cassandra graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2005. She then worked at Ohio State University Medical Center as an RN in a variety of areas including labor and delivery. It was there she discovered her true calling, serving the women of our area throughout their lifespan. She attended graduate school at The Ohio State University and graduated with her Master's Degree and certificate in Nurse-Midwifery. Cassandra is very excited to join The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

RebeccaWagner

Rebecca Wagner, CNM

Rebecca graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a nursing degree in 1997. She then proudly served her country as an Army Nurse for 4 ½ years in a variety of locations. Her nursing experience is varied and includes labor and delivery and a visiting nurse to pregnant and new mothers. She then returned to school and graduated with her Master's Degree and a certificate in Nurse-Midwifery. She is excited about working with women in all stages of their lives and feels especially privileged to work with women through pregnancy and birth.

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