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Locals celebrating National Nurse Midwifery Week

Kristy Darnell of Haverhill has two healthy children and some happy memories of the days she brought those children into the world.

Darnell will tell you she credits a lot of her satisfaction to the nurse midwife who took care of her during her pregnancies, and who delivered Tyler, age three, and Trevor, seven months.

"I felt like I could talk to her, my experiences seemed more personal; she took a lot of time with me," Darnell said. "It was just like one woman talking to another woman."

This is National Nurse Midwifery Week. Certified Nurse Midwife Debra Woda said she hopes other women will realize that when it comes to gynecological and obstetrical care, they have choice, and one of the choices is a nurse midwife.

Woda, a South Point resident, is one of three certified nurse midwives working at Ashland Women's Care in Ashland, Ky.

She said for many women, the option of either working with a midwife or a with doctor gives them more control over their medical care. And she said the idea of midwifery is growing in popularity, now encompassing patients in all walks of life, all socioeconomic levels and all ages.

"Sometimes when people think of nurse midwives, they think of home births, having the baby totally naturally with no medication," Woda said. "But midwifery is redefining itself. The whole point of midwives is that you give people a choice."

Approximately 7-8 percent of all babies born in the United States are delivered by nurse midwives. Woda said that figure is substantially higher in Europe.

Woda said midwives can and do deliver babies, but also perform other services as well.

"The word midwife means 'with women'," Woda said. "It means we are dedicated to the care of women, not just in childbirth but throughout their lives with family planning, health education."