What is a midwife?
A lot of people don’t realize that midwife care encompasses a full spectrum of women’s health issues and needs. Certified nurse midwives see girls as young as twelve, teaching them about the menstrual cycle. Midwives see premarital patients, helping women learn their options regarding birth control. They also place IUDs, perform biopsies, and treat many kinds of infections. The midwives at Seasons Medical are trained to help with all aspects of the health of women, and they have access to physicians and other trained medical professionals to help meet your every need.
What does a midwife do?
Approximately one-half of the visits to a Seasons Medical midwife concern issues related to gynecological care, including infections, cysts, and relief of feminine pain. Following is a partial list of the kinds of things our midwives treat:
- Birth control consultation
- Prenatal care
- Birth support
- Every phase of a Woman’s life
- STD testing and treatment
The Women’s Center at Seasons Medical has an in-house gynecological sonographer, who can help find cysts on the ovaries and provide other imaging needs. Additionally, our midwives care for endometriosis and PCOS, and they provide STD testing and treatment. They also place IUDs, perform cervical cancer screenings. and take endometrial biopsies for endometrial cancer screening. They also provide preventive health measures, including immunizations. A midwife might also do physical assessments for insurance purposes, for school, and for work. They’re certified healthcare providers, which means you can come to get your school physical done by them, if you need it.
Rebecca Helie, CNM, loves helping couples get pregnant when they choose. She and her husband struggled with infertility for years. They did every fertility treatment out there:
“I promise we tried everything. We did in-vitro fertilization multiple times. Eventually, we were blessed with a little girl. I feel such a personal connection to my patients who come in wanting education with that. It brings me a lot of joy to help, refer out, and get to the bottom of infertility issues. I love to educate. I love to help people make informed decisions about their care. Or informed refusal about their care, if that’s what they choose. I want women to walk out of my care feeling more empowered than when they walked in. I want them to feel the power to control their healthcare. I want them to fill empowered in the birth room. I want them to feel like they had a choice. and that they had a say. That they were respected and cared about. That’s all that matters to me.
“I had a patient reach out to me who told me that she had a really negative experience with her first pap smear, claiming that it was painful and that it was violating. That it was just not a good experience. And so we just talked about education. She messaged me and said, ‘I can’t thank you enough for all that you taught me, because when I felt uncomfortable I had the courage to speak up. To tell him when it was hurting. Thank you so much for teaching me those tools.’ At that point, I just knew my job was done. That’s what matters to me.
The path to becoming a midwife
“My name is Rebecca Helie, but I go by Becca. I am one of the certified nurse-midwives at Seasons Medical. I started my career as a labor and delivery nurse. I loved the time spent there. I love women’s health. I was always so sad when after my 12-hour shift, I rarely if ever got to see my patients again. Something that I love about being a midwife is that I can provide care from the time you start your menstrual cycle, all the way through menopause. I often get patients back.
“I always noticed some things as a labor nurse and thought maybe I would do this a little differently. Kind of wondering what else was out there, and that really inspired me to become a midwife. and everything that being a midwife represents.
“I received my bachelor’s degree from BYU Idaho in nursing. After getting some experience as a nurse, I decided to pursue a graduate degree, then received my master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati. Then I did some clinical rotations here in Rexburg at family practice clinics. Then OB/GYN clinics to gain experience. And then I started here at Seasons Medical. I have my mentors here. I love the physicians that I work with, Dr. Codd, and Dr. Meredith. It’s nice having them in my corner to consult with, if I have a difficult case. It’s nice to know that I’m supported by a high-quality team.
“Most of my patients are low-risk. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on women’s health in the birth scenario as a midwife. I don’t perform surgery. I’m not a surgeon. If any of my patients for whatever reason end up needing a C-section – like I had a patient who unfortunately was breech – I was able to consult with Dr. Meredith who is the primary surgeon. I can still participate in the C-section, assist, and be a part of her birth. However, midwives are not the primary surgeon. When my postmenopausal patients choose a hysterectomy, I always will refer them to the physicians. For high-risk pregnancies, I’m always consulting with the doctors. We take a team approach. We’re providing both the midwife model of care with high-risk knowledge. Sometimes we integrate other specialties. I have a patient who is working with hematology or working with maternal-fetal medicine in Idaho Falls. You can get the best of both worlds.
“You’ve probably heard the term ‘midwife’ before. There are so many different kinds of midwives out there, and there are different levels of training. A certified nurse-midwife has medical training and is authorized to practice in all 50 states. They have prescriptive authority in all 50 states, and they can be independent practitioners. About 96% of certified nurse-midwives deliver in hospitals. I can see any pregnant women. However, we are experts in low-risk normal physiologic births. Midwives are great for people who want to practice shared decision-making. This is one of the cornerstones of midwife care. It is my job to tell you the risks, the benefits, and what I recommend. Then it’s your job to make that decision, what’s going to be best for your health and for your preferences. Whether that be women’s health, or whether that be your birth experience. People who are aware of what a certified nurse-midwife does are more likely to come to see me. Sometimes people will see me by chance and then learn about midwife care.
“I have patients who go unmedicated and I give continuous labor support. I have patients who choose epidurals and that’s totally fine too. I definitely see a wide range of patients, and one of the benefits of midwife care is that personalization. I’m able to tailor my approach to what each patient wants for her experience.”