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EYE ON PARENTING: Meeting Essentia Health’s midwives

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Duluth, MN- In this week's Eye on Parenting CBS 3's Lyanne Valdez introduces us to two women on the Midwifery program at Essentia Health-St. Marys in this week's Eye on Parenting.

"I love birth, being with a woman through the entire pregnancy and watching how she transforms, not just physically but mentally," says Nurse Midwife, Mary Elizabeth Winters.

Giving birth can be a scary feeling for some, especially if it's your first time.
Essentia Health-St. Mary's is hoping to help you through the entire process.

"I feel very privileged that I get to do it, it never gets old for me," says Winters.

The medical center formally launched its program on January 1st.

Their midwives are certified and though they've had midwives practice before they're now developing a full-scope program.

"Now we are seeing patients exclusively, we don't need doctors to attend the births with us and patients get one-on-one support," says Winters.

For Winters this feels like a second language to her, "watching my first birth I was just like- this is what I want to do."

She knew at the tender age of 14, after watching one of her family members give birth.

"Watching my aunt go through the process it looked kind of scary but then watching the midwife with her and really support her and answer any questions she had made it much less scary for all of us, and then watching the birth was just amazing," said Winters.

The same goes for Essentia Nurse Midwife, Emily Davis.

"I get a little teary-eyed at every birth. It's just a miracle. I mean it is incredible of what women are capable of and often times they don't know what they're capable of," says Davis.

Midwives are in the room with you every step of the way making sure you're supported.

"Pregnancy, labor, and birth are just as much as an emotional and mental journey as it is a physical one and the more support you have at the bedside and having someone tell you you can do it, it can change everything," says Davis.

Which is key, especially for those who have significant others overseas or no family or friends nearby.

In order to see a midwife your pregnancy must be considered low-risk and other than having a personalized relationship with their provider and more personalized birth, Winters says the benefits are great.

"We have a higher rate of vaginal deliveries with a lower rate of lacerations or tears, we have a lower rate of preterm birth for the general population that we see," says Winters.

Midwives have been around for centuries and seem to be growing but there will always be a need for more.

"We only attend 9.4 percent of births in the U.S all together so it's still a very small percentage but women nowadays are much more informed about what options they have," says Winters.

Essentia Health-St. Mary's is hoping to add an official midwifery wing in the next two or three years.

Lyanne Valdez

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