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COURTESY: OREGON CLINIC - Nurse-midwife Diana Shane will see approximately 20 patients per day at the Oregon Clinic.The practice of midwifery goes back centuries, and in the modern era, midwives still provide a valuable service, helping guide women from preconception, through pregnancy, to childbirth.


Reb Huggins, who serves as a certified nurse-midwife at The Oregon Clinic, knows what it takes to lead women through this challenging phase of life.

“We provide healthcare for women across the lifespan,” Huggins said, adding services include annual exams (with Pap smears); STD screening, prevention and treatment; birth control; prenatal and preconception care; labor support; postpartum care; and breast feeding support.

Currently, four certified nurse-midwives practice at The Oregon Clinic and a fifth will be on board by the end of the year.

“We’re currently attending births primarily at Providence Portland Medical Center,” Huggins said. “Our backup with soon be Legacy Emanuel.”

Not all women may be aware of midwifery.

“I love being able to teach people about what modern midwifery has to offer in the healthcare spectrum,” Huggins said. “Midwives are centuries old and there are several types of midwives practicing throughout the country today.”

At The Oregon Clinic, nurse-midwives have either masters or doctorate-level education from universities. They also receive national board certification and state licenses.

“With that comes a full, independent scope of practice for normal births (low-risk women),” Huggins pointed out. “We have admitting privileges at the hospital. We have prescriptive authority. We order and interpret lab values - we provide very good care for normal pregnancy and have excellent outcomes in these settings.”

Compared with obstetricians, Huggins said, “nurse-midwife schedules allow for providing labor support, meaning they are able to provide one-on-one individualized care during labor, which can help improve patient’s satisfaction and reduce rates of intervention.”

Huggins added, “We work closely with the labor nurses.”

All of this can translate into long hours for the nurse-midwives. One of Huggins’ colleagues and the lead midwife at The Oregon Clinic, Karen C. Parker, begins her day early.

“I’ll do the rounds - after the rounds are done, I’ll come over to the office and help with any triage patients, anybody who needs to be seen urgently,” Parker said. “But, because I’m on call, if at any point, in my 24-hour period somebody is in labor, then I’m going to be attending to that, as well.”

With a long day, nurse-midwives see a variety of women. Nurse-midwife Diana Shane will see, perhaps, 20 patients a day in the clinic. “If there are a lot of patients who are coming back for some of their later pre-natal visits, I may see more people,” Shane said.

According to Huggins, insurance companies in the state of Oregon are required to reimburse for certified nurse-midwifery care, just as they are for an obstetrician.

Enjoying her life as a nurse-midwife, Huggins said, “I love it every day, even when I’m exhausted. It’s still rewarding. Each birth is unique.”

MORE ON MIDWIVES

Certified Nurse-Midwives provide sensitive, holistic healthcare to women throughout their lifespan including prenatal and postpartum care, births, annual well-woman exams, birth control planning, and menopause. In Oregon, nurse-midwives are recognized as independent healthcare practitioners and have hospital admitting privileges. They are also licensed to prescribe medications, and often consult with physicians.

Areas of focus include:

  • Emphasis in Natural Childbirth
  • Lactation Support
  • Annual Breast and Pelvic Exams
  • Family Planning/Contraception
  • Preconception Counseling
  • Preventative Well Woman Care
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Uterine Bleeding
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Adolescent Gynecology
  • — Oregon Clinic

    Scott Keith is a freelance writer for the Portland Tribune and Pamplin Media Group. If you have a health tip, or a story idea, contact Scott at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m.

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