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Seeking Certified Nurse Midwives

We are all in search of an ideal birthing situation. Karli seeks your suggestions and experiences:

I am pregnant with baby #2. After a hospital birth with baby #1, we are looking for a natural birth this time at home with a certified nurse midwife. I am unsure why I hesitate to go with a lay midwife, except that I might feel more comfortable with a CNM, knowing they have the medical training to intervene if the need should arise. I don't know which clinic is the best. I would like to have a referral to the best -- in SW or close-in SE -- if possible. We are looking for a home birth, or may possibly go with a birthing center, but I am leaning towards a CNM. A lot of the feedback on the blog is recommendations for lay midwives. Are there any recommendations for CNM's that deliver at home? I'm also interested in reading that might make me feel a little more comfortable with a lay midwife--as this might expand my options. This will be my last birth, so I want to make sure I make the best decision.


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vivante midwifery is on se hawthorne and two of three are CNMs. I've been looking into the same thing because my insurance will only cover CNMs. my friend who is training in midwifery has heard good things about this practice but I don't have any personal experience with them (yet).

My first was an excellent hospital birth, but I knew I wanted a home birth, so I went with the Naturopath/CNM team of Catherine Schaefer and Nora Tallman for my next 2 births and couldn't be happier. At the time they didn't have an office, but I've heard they do now, or will soon. THeir company is called "A Gentle BIrth" and they have a website. Just google the above names. GOod luck. Sunny

I have to throw in my two cents here and HIGHLY recommend Alma Midwifery. It is a birthing center on SE Ankeny at 16th. and the midwives there are amazing! They are not CNMs but they always made me feel incredibly safe in their care and they are very experienced and knowledgable about pregnancy and birth. I dont know if I will have any more children, but if I ever find myself pregnant again, I will most certainly return to them without hesitation. Good luck!

We've got some incredible certified nurse midwives (CNMs) here at Emanuel Hospital. The best thing is that, if anything at all goes wrong, you've got all the resources of Emanuel Children's Hospital at your fingertips.

You can check out the midwives here:

Hello, Since writing this post, I've decided to go with licensed midwives, because it is important to me to deliver in the home. I'm so happy to hear yet another positive report about Alma. I have a consultation appt. with them, and am leaning strongly towards Alma at this point. I've heard nothing but positive feedback from several women about Alma. I also have a consult. appt. w/ NW Community Midwives. There are so many excellent midwives in Portland that it certainly is tough to narrow it down! --Karli

I'm 24 weeks pregnant with my second child and I too use the midwives at Alma. I cannot recommend them highly enough. :-)

I had my beautiful baby boy at Alma five days ago. He's my first, so I can't offer a comparitive analysis, but I can say that I felt very well cared for through the whole pregnancy, and I am very grateful for the presence of my midwives and their commitment to my care from 4 weeks pregnant (just try to get an appointment with an Ob-Gyn prior to 11 weeks--the usual risk threshold for early miscarriage) right through labor and delivery, and now the follow up care. My team of midwives has always been available with answers and support, and the community that is Alma is a really lovely group of people.
Just had to add my enthusiastic endorsement to the pile of votes for Alma. I love those women.

I love Alma! I'm so excited that you're considering them. I was with another set of midwives with my first and had a very disappointing experience. I delivered in a hospital though there was no medical reason; the midwives were simply disorganized and short-staffed. They really let me down with post-partum care, too.

With Alma, it took me some time to really trust them, given my history. I remember the appointment where I realized that these three midwives (yes! three!) were truly going to be with me for the entire pregnancy. They really supported my family afterward, too. It took me a long while to stop missing them and their generous care.

I birthed at their center, mainly because I do have a little princess in me and I wanted the pretty tub. ;)

Good luck with your decision!

I'm glad you have decided to look into 'lay midwifery' :-) I'm a (retired)lay midwife myself, and all the non-CNM midwives in the area are trained in neonatal resuscitation, hemorrhage, and any other complication that might arise during labor/delivery/postpartum. In fact, those who are licensed are required to keep their certification in life-saving techniques up-to-date. Almost all of us carry oxygen as well as the other equipment/meds/herbs to keep you and baby healthy as possible.
We are every bit as vigilant as our amazing CNM sisters (who are themselves a fine lot here in Portland, just the best). The nice thing is that we have good working relations with the CNMs, so in the event of a transport, the home midwives can work smoothly with the hospital midwives.
Alma has some fine gals: my former apprentice Jen B. is over there now, tell her I said Hi! :-)

Good luck. I hope you have a butter birth.

Madrona Bordeau was our midwife for the birth of both of our children-baby #1 a home birth turned hopital transport, and baby #2 a home birth. I felt completely safe and honored in finding my own birthing process with Madrona. She held the space for me in a way that helped to protect the sacredness during both of these drastically different experiences. I can not recommend her highly enough. http://www.mydwyf.com/

I am 15 weeks pregnant and am very happy so far at Alma. My midwife there helped me troubleshoot my diet when I was still getting sick at 14 weeks, and she was right on the money with her suggestions--I am so happy to have that level of individualized care for my pregnancy. I also love that there are yoga classes, childbirth classes, mama groups and pot-lucks at the center to foster community with other pregnant and new mothers. If you're new in town, it might be a nice please to meet people.

I just want to dispel the myth that all non-nurse midwives are "lay midwives". Most of the midwife practices in Portland providing homebirths are staffed by Licensed (LDM) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) who have had rigorous training in all aspects of safe maternity care including the handling of emergencies (hemmorhage, newborn resuscitation, etc). That training continues throughout our careers and outcomes have shown that women are getting good care, with minimal interventions. Because the Midwives Model of Care is being practiced, women also get th emotional support that assists them to know their own strengths and move into their labor with more confidence.

Check out www.oregonmidwiferycouncil.org and click on Directory for a list of midwives.

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