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PBS and Detroit Public Television have partnered with experienced midwives to discuss their role in modern obstetrics and how things have changed in relation to Call the Midwife, which takes place in the 1950s and 1960s.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the Modern Midwives blog are solely those of the authors.
Katie Moriarty, PhD, CNM, CAFCI, FACNM, RN is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Professor on faculty at Frontier Nursing University. Katie was re-elected for a second term to serve on the Board of Directors for the American College of Nurse-Midwives as the Region IV Representative (MI, OH, IND, IL, MO, AR, KY). She has been a CNM since 1992 and has attended births in and out of the hospital setting. She launched the first Integrative Healthcare, Complementary Therapies Clinic in Pregnancy and Reproductive Women’s Health. Dr. Moriarty earned her BScN at the University of Windsor, Ontario CANADA; MS (Perinatal Nursing and Nurse-Midwifery) and PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Midwife means 'with woman' and I feel honored to be a partner with women and their families through this amazing life event. Pregnancy and birth are powerful times, and when we act as a team to address the mind, body, and spirit we can optimize that power and strengthen the individual woman, their family, and our communities. Each woman is unique and deserves respect and accurate information based on the best evidence available to make informed decisions as they travel their path to motherhood.”
Deborah McBain, CNM, MS, BSN, RN is a retired certified nurse-midwife and practiced full-scope midwifery in Metro Detroit for 20 years. For 23 years before her midwifery career she practiced as an RN in medical/surgical, obstetrical and neonatology units. During her career, in addition to her midwifery practice, she taught childbirth education, led menopause support groups and mentored nursing, midwifery and medical students as well as physician residents.
McBain graduated from Wayne State University–Detroit with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science and from the Case Western University–Cleveland with a Master’s Degree. She received her midwifery education through Frontier Nursing Service, Community–based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program (CNEP) in Hyden, Ky. She began her midwifery career at an out-of-hospital birth center and retired from the Henry Ford Medical System Midwifery Practice in 2016.
“I am humbled by the trust that families consistently have in midwives to safely guide them through the journey of pregnancy and birth. It is trust that must be reciprocated to be valuable. Midwives must also trust women and the process of birth. It is a sacred mutual trust that has spanned history. I am honored to be part of this ongoing story of women, birth and life.”
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Andrea Altomaro MS, RN, CNM has been nurse-midwife for the past three years and is currently working for the Henry Ford Health System. Before becoming a midwife, she worked as a nurse in the emergency department and also in labor and delivery.
Altomaro graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and from the University of Michigan with a Master’s Degree in Science for Nurse-Midwifery. She practices full-scope midwifery care at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.
“I’m so grateful for all the families that allow me into their lives during their pregnancies and birthing times. It is so special to see the strength, power, and grace of women as they bring their babies into the world.”
Roeske graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science and from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Science for Nurse-Midwife. She has practiced what is called “full scope midwifery-prenatal” care, attended births, postpartum care and gynecological care including contraception, annual gynecology exams and menopausal care.
“I have a special love for the delivery part; there is something truly remarkable about seeing a baby coming into the world,” Roeske says about being a nurse-midwife.
A significant part of what a nurse-midwife does is to teach women about how their body works and how to gain optimal health at all points along their life — that is what Roeske tries to accomplish as a nurse-midwife.
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