Birth Professionals

More than a uterus

I was talking with another nurse practitioner (yes, I am actually a nurse practitioner now!!!) about what I would do with my midwifery training.  I’ve decided to pursue a PhD, which means I am pretty sure I’ll never work as a baby catcher.  I knew this, and accepted the possibility when I applied for the PhD program. But, as I explained to her, midwifery isn’t just about catching babies because women are more than a uterus.

But I also trained in family practice, which means I can help identify an illness or treat a chronic condition.  In the real world, these two disciplines overlap.  Pregnant women get sick, and women with chronic conditions get pregnant.  Having the combined background puts me in a sweet spot to help women in these in between spaces.

I have an extensive knowledge of sexual health issues, and can help women as they make decisions regarding contraception or if they need treatment for a sexually transmitted infection or if they want a little help trying to conceive.

I am trained to support lactation, and all breast health issues which means I can as easily help a woman work through a plugged duct or thrush as I can assess a lump she found.  I am comfortable enough with my skills to help a woman make evidence based decisions about breastfeeding while using a medication.

I understand the menstrual cycle and can help a women if she is moving through menopause, missing periods or bleeding heavier than she used to.

All of these are skills I have gained while training as a midwife. These are basic healthcare issues I may run into with any woman in primary care.  No, I will not be a baby catcher, but I am a midwife and will still provide midwifery care for the other aspects of a woman’s life.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)