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This week (Oct. 4-10, 2015) is National Midwifery Week. Learn about the division and midwife-led care, and read Q&As with three UNC Midwives on why midwifery matters at UNC and how it fits in to expert, evidence-based obstetrical care at UNC.

UNC Midwifery team


Why Midwifery Matters with Meg Berreth

Midwifery as part of evidence-based obstetrical care at UNC with Kathy Higgins

Why I Chose Midwifery with Jenny Cox

According to the American College of Nurse Midwives, the mission of midwifery is to promote the health and well-being of women and infants within their families and communities so that every individual has the right to safe, satisfying health care with respect to human dignity and cultural variations.

The UNC Midwives division of UNC OB/GYN opened in 1999 and serves three clinical sites: N.C. Women’s Hospital clinic, UNC OB/GYN at Timberlyne and UNC OB/GYN at Panther Creek. The first midwifery group in the state to become a division in a medical school, UNC Midwives are on call to provide care and deliver babies at N.C. Women’s Hospital 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

In the past five years, certified nurse midwives at UNC have attended 14 percent of deliveries at N.C. Women’s Hospital and last year served 505 midwifery patients and 66 non-midwifery patients. In FY 2015, 83 percent of attempted VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) deliveries attended by a midwife at UNC were successful.

UNC Midwives serve women throughout their lives from teen years to maturity, providing healthcare and counseling for:

  • Family planning
  • Preconception counseling
  • Personalized prenatal care
  • Family-centered delivery
  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Labor support and postpartum care
  • STD testing and counseling
  • Well-woman care and health maintenance exams
  • Primary care
  • Perimenopause and menopause care
  • Alternative, complimentary and traditional healthcare

UNC Midwives take part in UNC OB/GYN’s educational mission by participating in resident education and support, as well as in the education of students from UNC’s Schools of Medicine and Nursing and student nurse midwives at East Carolina University and Frontier School of Medicine.

At a recent Grand Rounds lecture on midwifery services at UNC, Kathy Higgins, division director of UNC Midwives, said having an integrated health care system that provides midwife-led continuity models of care as well as medical expertise for substantial medical or obstetrical complications results in improved fetal and maternal outcomes at UNC.

“Close collaboration and mutual respect between the obstetrical disciplines within the department has proven to have a positive impact patient care and satisfaction and is an excellent model of care,” said Higgins.