Interview with Elizabeth Stein, CNM

Recently I had the opportunity to interview certified-nurse midwife, Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH. Elizabeth practices in New York and has experience with high-risk populations. Visit her at her website: Ask Your Midwife.

1. Please tell me a little bit about your services as a midwife:

My private practice provides obstetrical care, which includes prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum and breast feeding. After delivery, women are seen 6 weeks postpartum. Alternatively, women who had a cesarean delivery are seen for an incision site check at 10-14 days post partum and once again at 6 weeks.

GYN care includes an annual GYN exam, which includes a Pap smear, STD testing and treatment, breast exam, urine test and blood work. I also address common GYN complaints, such as family planning/birth control, basic infertility, and pre/ postmenopausal care. I provide primary care and stress the importance of being proactive.

2. How long have you practiced?

I have been a certified nurse midwife 25 years and have delivered more than 2600 babies.

3. What inspired you to become a CNM?

I was an EMT before I was a nurse. On one occasion, I was working in the emergency room when the director told me to go upstairs to L & D to learn how to do a delivery, since that would be helpful while working in the ER. The female doctor I worked with was so beautiful, calm and relaxed, yet very attentive. She calmly and gently delivered the baby. Instantly, I knew this was what I should be doing!

4. What are the top questions you are asked by expectant mothers?

Is my baby ok? Is it a girl or boy? Where will I deliver? When can I have a sonogram? When is my next appointment? How much weight should I gain? Do I have to take prenatal vitamins? How will I know if the water breaks? How will I know when labor starts?

5. What are your thoughts on current bioethical issues in maternity care? (particularly elective cesarean section)

  • Elective cesarean delivery (maternal request)
  • TOL/VBAC (trial of labor-vaginal birth after cesarean) versus repeat cesarean delivery
  • Home births
  • Circumcisions
  • Cord blood collection (fetal stem cells)
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis
  • Oocyte and embryo storage (prepregnancy)
  • 6. Any tips for women planning a natural hospital birth?

    The hardest yet most rewarding day of your life! Natural means vaginal versus abdominal (surgical).

  • Baby’s going to come, when the baby’s going to come (doesn’t read the sonogram report or prenatal chart). Baby is in charge.
  • Stay home as long as possible (exceptions: rupture of membranes, group b strep positive, vaginal bleeding, other medical or obstetrical reason to come right in)
  • Your birth plan is a wish list, not a guarantee!
  • Don’t start labor exhausted! Rest!
  • Eat and drink (you may vomit later)
  • Know who will deliver you
  • Know  when to go to labor and delivery
  • Beware of unrealistic expectations. Go with the flow of your body. Be flexible and open minded.
  • Know how you may labor…..in bed, on the ball, walking, on the fetal monitor, in the shower
  • You may have to bail out……and have a cesarean delivery….it’s not a failure, just another route of delivery
  • It’s your baby……everyone wants the baby in the first 5 minutes! Bonding is ongoing and forever
  • Breast feeding is not as easy as it sounds but everyone will help you
  • Nobody is judging you! Once you are a mom, you wear the badge MOM.
  • Whatever pregnancy and birth experiences it took to make you MOM should remain a memory and should not haunt you.

    Enjoy your baby!

    Thank you for sharing your expertise with my readers, Elizabeth!

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