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Lifetime Partners in Care
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) are partners with you in health throughout life?from your teenage years through adulthood and beyond. CNMs and CMs do more than deliver babies. They also provide general health care and help women understand their choices when special concerns arise.
For teenagers, midwives provide education, support, and information through this phase of rapid growth and change. Your midwife can partner with you and your family to help you make safe, smart decisions when it comes to your body and your health.
CNMs and CMs provide routine women?s health care, such as pelvic exams and pap tests, breast exams, prescribing medicine (such as birth control), and ordering tests (like screenings for sexually transmitted infections). Your midwife is available to discuss the many changes that occur as you go through puberty and begin having your periods?from your first sexual experiences to handling peer pressure.
Midwifery Care for Adults
Did you know midwives do more than attend births? CNMs and CMs provide general women?s health care services and help women understand their choices in health care. Their education prepares them to recognize a wide variety of health issues and concerns?from the common cold and strep throat to nutrition and mental health. CNMs and CMs can prescribe treatment and medications (such as antibiotics or birth control) for many health issues. They work together with all members of the health care team to ensure that a specialist is available should you need surgery or treatment for a serious health concern.
And, of course, your midwife will help you decide when and if pregnancy is right for you. Your midwife can help you develop healthy habits and walk you through your options for birth control if this is something you want. Your midwife can also help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy, supporting you from the beginning of pregnancy through childbirth and after the birth of your baby.
Midwifery Care during Menopause and Aging
Your teenage and childbearing years aren?t the only times your midwife will help you through changes in your health needs. CNMs and CMs are also ideal health care providers through menopause and beyond. Your midwife can help you recognize the signs of menopause and will assist you in learning how to deal with any discomforts if needed. After menopause, your midwife will continue to partner with you in your health care, helping you remain in good health as you age.
Completing the Circle of Care
As you consider many of your health care decisions, your midwife will always encourage you to learn more about your options, to reach the personal goals you have for your health, and to determine what you want from your health care visits. In fact, all of the women in your family can seek the care of a midwife, including your daughter and your mother. CNMs and CMs offer health care throughout your lifetime, so they can meet health care needs from daughter to mother to grandmother. And because CNMs and CMs provide sensitive, evidence-based advice, you can feel confident sharing the information you learn from your midwife with those you are closest to.
CNMs and CMs can be partners in your care throughout life. There are several resources available to assist you in learning more about the different stages of a woman?s life and the health care you need.
For more information about teenage health, the Teen Survival Guide: Health Tips for On-the-Go Girls, from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, promotes healthy behaviors in young women ages 10-16. Topics include puberty, exercise, self-esteem, and healthy relationships.
For more information about menopause, visit www.sharewithwomen.org from the Journal of Midwifery & Women?s Health, or visit WomensHealth.gov. The US Department of Health & Human Services? Menopause: Time for a Change is also a valuable resource on the effects menopause can have on your health.
For more information on the importance of health maintenance for women, visit WomansHealth.gov.