Midwifery Care During Pregnancy & Childbirth

midwife delivery

Our certified nurse midwives can care for you throughout your pregnancy, independently or in conjunction with an OB/GYN.

Women who choose midwives note that they experienced care in a loving and supportive environment.

Prenatal Care

Your midwife will partner with you and your family to discuss your options for prenatal care and the birth of your baby. She will provide scientific, evidence-based information that can assist you in knowing how you would like your pregnancy and childbirth to proceed.

As a result of this personal attention, which starts immediately upon meeting with your midwife, you will be better prepared for childbirth.

With your midwife’s guidance, you can:

  • understand how your body is naturally equipped for childbirth and increase your confidence in your ability to give birth
  • prepare your mind and body for childbirth; for example, you and your midwife will discuss ways to practice relaxation
  • understand which experiences throughout your pregnancy are normal and when to seek medical care
  • make informed healthcare decisions for you and your baby


During labor, you will be attended by your support persons (i.e. a family member, partner, spouse, or loved ones), your nurse, and possibly a doula (if you have made arrangements to have a doula present).

Your midwife will guide you throughout labor and ensure that you are well informed throughout your experience. The word "midwife" means "with-women" and your midwife will work with you to have a safe, healthy, and empowering experience giving birth to your baby.

Your midwife will offer words of support and suggest ways to increase relaxation.

Many women who have chosen midwives proudly tell their birth stories. They often state, “My midwife helped me find the strength I needed to birth my baby.”

Pain Relief & Epidurals

Midwives help women to understand the natural process of labor. Simply understanding what is normal reduces fear in labor and increases coping abilities.

During your childbirth, all modes of pain relief will be evaluated, including:

  • relaxation
  • movement during labor
  • hydrotherapy via jacuzzis, when available
  • the creation of a birth space that allows for privacy and comfort
  • the use of epidurals and other methods of pain management

Midwives are well known for suggesting different pain management positions and techniques, which can delay or eliminate the need for pain medication including an epidural. However, if pain medication is part of your birth plan, then you should know that the Mercy Midwives are supportive of your coping needs as well.

If you choose to have an epidural, the hospital’s anesthesiologists are available 24/7 to fulfill your request.

After Delivery

Your midwife can provide guidance on breastfeeding, handling anxiety and improving nutrition and exercise. She can also offer insight into the emotional changes that happen when you become a parent for the first time or add another child to the family.

Our midwives provide follow-up care after your delivery both in and outside the hospital. During your hospital stay, you can expect a daily visit from your midwife. Postpartum appointments are also scheduled, following your return home, to ensure your physical and emotional well being. 

Midwifery care is for all stages of a woman's life. After the birth of your baby, we encourage patients to return for annual gynecological exams and family planning needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Midwives

Is using a midwife safe?

Yes. Midwives have advanced education to specialize in childbirth and women's healthcare. A certified nurse midwife can independently manage your healthcare needs, prescribe medications, and assist you in accomplishing life goals that are unique to you. 

For more information about midwives, please visit the American College of Nurse Midwives website.

Do I have to give birth at home?


While some midwives attend home births, our midwives provide care within the hospital setting.

Our midwives practice at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital. Giving birth at the hospital provides the best of both worlds. You’ll have the support and expertise of a midwife and access to state-of-the-art technology, should the need arise.

Does my insurance cover midwife care?

Yes. New York State requires that all private insurance companies pay for services provided by certified nurse midwives. Medicaid coverage for certified nurse midwives is required in all states.

When may a midwife not be the right choice for me?

You may be required to seek co-management care from an obstetrician when you have certain conditions, such as:

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • diabetes
  • uncontrolled thyroid disease
  • certain bleeding disorders
  • multiple births (twins)

Your midwife or physician can help you determine what care is best for you.

On occasion, women develop conditions during pregnancy that require care from a provider other than a midwife. Your midwife can evaluate if you need to transfer your care to a different provider, or your midwife can work in conjunction with your provider.

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

A certified nurse midwife has advanced medical training with at least a bachelor's degree and certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Learn more about midwifery care in New York State, visit op.nysed.gov.

A doula is trained to support mom during childbirth – but not in a medical capacity. She is your birthing assistant. She provides reassurance and words of encouragement. She also makes your birthing environment soothing and comfortable, and can show your birth partner how to best support you.

Some parents choose to have both a doula and a midwife throughout pregnancy and delivery, with the midwife providing medical support and the doula providing emotional support.