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National Midwifery Week With Dr. Rhonda Johnson

Clinical Assistant Professor, Dr. Rhonda Johnson, is an APRN has her DNP, and is also a Certified Nurse Midwife. In honor of National Midwifery Week, Johnson shared with us her passion for midwifery, the importance of midwives, and common misconceptions. 

What is the role of a midwife?
Midwives are trained professionals with expertise and skills in empowering women to maintain healthy pregnancies, to optimize their birth experience, and provide outstanding postpartum, gynecological and infant care.  We provide a low-tech, high-touch approach to care for all women regardless of their socioeconomic background.  We also are trained to identify and refer mothers and their infants who require obstetrical or pediatric attention.

How are midwives beneficial to expecting mothers?
Midwives provide women and their infants with individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. We are part of the empowering model of maternity and women’s healthcare that is utilized worldwide. The countries with the lowest maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates are those in which the profession of midwifery is valued and is a part of the framework of the maternity care system.

What is a misconception about the midwifery profession?
Midwives are trained healthcare professionals who can attend birth in the hospital, in a free-standing birth center, in an alongside maternity unit and at home.  We offer prenatal care, birth care, postpartum care, newborn care and gynecological care. 

What do you love about being a midwife?
The Old English definition of midwife means ‘with-woman.’ A midwife
is an advocate in the partnership with a woman and her right to self-determination. Giving birth is hard; however, I have never considered attending a woman’s birth as a job, but rather as a distinct honor and privilege. My heart and hands have been blessed to help over 1,500 women give birth to their newest family member. Midwifery is about helping a woman embrace her strength regardless of her socioeconomic background.

Can you share with us a little bit about the SC Midwifery Education Task Force?
In 2018, the South Carolina maternal death rate was the 8th highest in the United States, and the mortality and morbidity rates are even higher for minority women. Worldwide, countries with the lowest maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates utilize midwives as part of their maternity care system’s solution. The taskforce believes developing a nurse-midwifery program in South Carolina can help solve the state’s high maternal and infant mortality rates and improve the gap in both urban and rural health. To date, South Carolina has 128 licensed Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), but only 45 CNMs are practicing fullscope midwifery.



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