Child Birth and Midwifery

Giving birth is one of the most personal, intimate experiences a woman can have. Naturally, many women have very specific ideas about their Birth Preferences Plan and for some, that means choosing a midwife delivery. At Marin General Hospital, we have a Prima certified nurse-midwife on-site 24/7 and we are one of the ONLY hospitals in the Bay Area to offer this service.

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?

A certified nurse-midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in women's health, including pregnancy and delivery for low-risk, healthy women. The midwives at Marin General Hospital are registered nurses with a master's degree in nursing and/or public health and are certified through the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). The ACNM and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) jointly attribute safety and efficacy of collaborative practices between Certified Nurse Midwives and doctors. At Marin General Hospital, a certified nurse-midwife's job includes:

  • Providing prenatal care, including ordering tests, lab work, and scans
  • Performing annual well-woman exams, whether a woman is pregnant or not
  • Prescribing certain medications including but not limited to contraception, hormone replacement therapy, and antibiotics
  • Working with each woman and her family to provide patient-centered, evidence-based care. This may include creating a personal Birth Preferences Plan
  • Providing alternatives to traditional pain relief during labor, but also supporting the mother's choice for comfort measures that are best for her, including narcotics, nitrous oxide, and epidural anesthesia
  • Surgical first assist for the OB/GYN during a cesarean section

Because midwives support physiologic birth and intervene only when medically necessary, a certified nurse-midwife's expertise can provide the right care at the right time for a great majority of healthy women. A midwife-assisted birth is not recommended if the pregnancy is considered high risk, as in the following cases:

  • Uncontrolled insulin-dependent diabetes or other medical conditions in the mother
  • Pregnancy-related complications such as severe preeclampsia
  • Significant health problems in the developing baby
  • Premature labor before 34 weeks
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins or more)

The vast majority of deliveries are uncomplicated and go as planned. However, if complications do occur during labor, midwives adhere to a strict, formal protocol with regard to when a doctor should be consulted or called in, either to co-manage or assume complete care. As Marin's only labory and delivery hospital, Marin General HoFspital has all the emergency equipment and personnel in place should a complication arise.

Midwives at Marin General Hospital

The Midwives of Marin are a group of Certified Nurse Midwives who work with the Prima Medical Group and Marin General Hospital. These midwives are an integral part of the OB Hospitalist Program at Marin General Hospital’s Family Birth Center, and at least one is on the premises at all times.

Midwives practicing at Marin General Hospital:

  • Are all registered nurses and Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Share a philosophy that honors each birth as a normal, healthy process that should be a unique and transformational experience for the woman and her family
  • Provide culturally sensitive, family-centered care
  • Welcome doulas, family members, or other support people whose presence at the birth has been specifically requested by the mother
  • Offer hydrotherapy, guided relaxation and therapeutic touch as well as conventional pain medication, including epidurals
  • Perform deliveries for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) with a success rate of more than 70%

Marin General Hospital is not directly involved in home births and the midwives with whom we work do not perform deliveries outside of the hospital. We do welcome any woman who was planning to have her baby at home and needs to transfer care to our hospital. Depending on the reason for transfer, a certified nurse-midwife may be available to care for someone who was planning a home birth. 

Meet the Midwives of Marin

The Prima Midwives of Marin host a meet and greet several times a year at the hospital. This is an opportunity to learn about their services, ask questions, and take a tour of Marin General Hospital.

2019 events will be held on March 4, June 3, September 9 and December 2. All events are held in Conference Center at Marin General Hospital from 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm.

For more information or questions about the Midwives of Marin, please call Mary Newberry, CNM, Co-Lead of Midwifery Services, at 1-415-842-5107.

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