What Does a Midwife Do?

"I love helping a woman become a mother."

Amy Stewart-Banbury

If you’re expecting a baby, consider working with a midwife. We spoke with Amy Stewart-Banbury of Trillium Womancare, a certified professional midwife (CPM), to better understand the role of the midwife in pregnancy and delivery.  

What training does a CPM complete?

An apprentice or student midwife is required to work under a certified midwife for a minimum of three years and attend all prenatal clinics. During that time, she is present at all births, from the beginning of labor until after the baby’s birth. They also complete required self-study hours and must pass the National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM) exam. Stewart-Banbury studied under a certified midwife for five years and attended over 150 births.

What should a woman expect from her prenatal visits?  

Each prenatal visit is scheduled for one hour. We spend about 45 minutes of that hour talking. We discuss nutrition, exercise, and how the woman is feeling in general.  The other 15 minutes are for lab work and physical exams including maternal weight, protein levels, blood pressure, and fetal position. I provide the standard prenatal screenings including gestational diabetes and Strep B. It’s important that our prenatal visits allow us to develop a relationship of trust. We are working together to have this baby.  

Where can a CPM attend a birth?

Tennessee law allows CPMs to attend births only in homes. While homebirths are not appropriate for all pregnancies, a woman with a low-risk pregnancy can safely deliver at home under a midwife’s care. CPMs maintain professional relationships with local OB/GYNs in case of medical necessity.  

What does a midwife do during labor?

Mom calls at the beginning of labor and one of my apprentices goes to attend her. We (mom and midwife) stay in constant phone contact. When contractions are five minutes apart and one minute long, I go to the home. I stay at the home until at least three hours after the baby is born. After delivery, a CPM returns for a visit at 24 hours and again at five days. I also see patients for a two-week and a six-week postpartum checkup at my office.  

What is your favorite part of the job?  

I love helping a woman become a mother. I love helping them out of that place they think they can’t come out of. I love helping them realize themselves.

Local Homebirth Midwives:

Trillium Womancare
2610 Autumn Avenue • 292-5354

Full Circle Midwifery
1000 South Cooper Suite 229 • 275-2907

Chosen Birth Midwifery
915 Centerpoint Road, Mason, TN • 867-7125


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