Midwifery and abortions

  1. Hi all,

    I am new to allnurses.com and this is my first post, so hopefully it's in the right forum and no one else has posted about this.

    I am a pre-nursing student. I have narrowed down my choices to three specialties:

    Midwifery, Pediatric nurse, and a nurse who works with people with cancer (preferably children, not sure what this would be called)

    However, it popped into my head that being a midwife might mean doing abortions too. I am pro-life so this is really concerning.

    My question is, who performs abortions? Is it only surgeons or doctors? Are midwives the ones who perform it? If so, is there a way to opt out of it? Would love to hear from any midwives out there!

  2. Visit justgivemeastage profile page

    About justgivemeastage

    Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 3
    Student; from US


  3. by   Katie71275
    Im not a midwife but hope to become one.
    My understanding is, that if there is a procedure you are uncomfortable with, it is against your beliefs(moral or religious) as a provider, be it RN, midwife, MD, that you do not have to provide the service. And that means ABORTION. I know that most of the doctors offices in my town do NOT provide them. You do it in a nonjudgemental way and refer them appropriately to a care provider who can provide the abortion.
    Im not even sure an abortion would be in the scope of practice for a midwife, but if it were, Im sure the above would still hold true.
  4. by   Double-Helix
    Whether abortions are in the scope of practice for a midwife would depend on the laws and regulations in your state.

    As a midwife, you have the ability to be an independent practitioner. That means you get to be the boss of your practice. You decide what services you will and will not offer. If you don't want to offer abortions, then you don't have to. Midwives are not the same as a Nurse Practitioner, and I think you may be confusing the two. As a midwife, you would be referred patients who are pregnant and want their primary provider drink their pregnancy to be a midwife. You would follow the patient through the pregnancy, delivery, and the post partum period. It makes sense that patients would come to you when they want to have a healthy pregnancy. A Women's Health Nurse Practitioner would care for women in all stages of life, but not during pregnancy/delivery. If the patient wanted an abortion, she would not be referred to a midwife, but would instead see her general practitioner or go to an abortion clinic.

    But as with any ethically controversial matter, you should be aware of your personal bias in these areas and make sure that you can counsel and refer your patients in a nonjudgmental way.

    Please know that a midwife is not a nursing specialty, like a pediatric nurse. You cannot graduate from nursing school and specialize in midwifery. To become a midwife you need several years of graduate level education and training, in addition to your RN license. Many Certified Nurse Midwife programs will require 1-2+ years of RN experience in an OB-GYN related field before you can enter the program.

    Finally, it's nice that you have an idea of where you might like to work. However, remember that you haven't even entered nursing school yet. The reality of the nursing profession is likely far different than what you currently imagine. You might start taking nursing classes and clinicals and realize that you really don't like pediatric nursing, but find a strong interest in areas that you never considered (or never knew existed) before. In nursing school, you have to learn how to take care of all different kinds of patients. The majority of your classes and clinicals will focus on adults, and a small portion will involve peds and maternity. You can specialize after you graduate from nursing school and find a job- not before you start nursing school. Keep your mind and options open during your schooling.

    P.S. A nurse that works with cancer patients in an oncology nurse. There are pediatric oncology positions, but most often pediatric cancer patients are taken care of on the general pediatrics floor.
  5. by   justgivemeastage
    I forgot to ask, do midwives perform c-sections too?
  6. by   CEG
    It does depend on the state- some states including the one where I practice, prohibit anyone but physicians from providing abortion services. Other states, like where I was previously, allow midwives to perform certain types of abortions.

    To clarify the above post, Nurse Midwives ARE advanced practice nurses and are licensed independent providers. Some states require formal collaboration with a physician, others do not.

    Midwives provide women's health and primary care across the lifespan. This includes prenatal, well woman, gyne, vaginal deliveries, and often first assisting in c-sections and other surgeries. My facility does not provide abortion services but I often counsel my patients on termination as an option in my current position as I might see a gyne patient who is unexpectedly pregnant or a new ob who is unsure if she wants to continue her pregnancy.
  7. by   morte
    please note, nurse-midwife is not the same as midwife....
  8. by   CEG
    Quote from morte
    please note, nurse-midwife is not the same as midwife....
    Nurse midwives are a type of midwife, there are several other flavors as well. Probably less likely to perform abortions or work in abortion services than nurse midwives are as the other types of midwives will typically practice in out of hospital/independent settings.
  9. by   NewYorkMidwife
    A Nurse Midwife is also called a Certified Nurse Midwife. There are 3 main types of midwives in the US - CNM, CM and CPM, and they are all midwives.
  10. by   NewYorkMidwife
    Normally, abortion is within the Midwife's scope of practice. It's very rare that midwives actually do abortions in practice, unless they work for planned parenthood. The surgical abortions are learned after your graduation, and it's even more rare that that a midwife performs that. Medical abortions (i.e, taking pills rather than vacuum extraction) will be what midwives would do if you found a job in those specialty clinics.
  11. by   mz_marit
    I would like to be an abortion provider after finishing women's health NP school in one of the few states where there are no physician only laws - I'm happy to field questions for anyone interested in doing this, as I've researched it quite a bit. I agree with Ashley, PICU RN - it's crucial that you not let your own belief about abortion interfere with the care that you provide clients as a midwife someday. Providing accurate, non-judgmental care is essential. You will have to learn about abortion and be sure to council your clients with an open mind and open heart about all their options, and give accurate information regarding all of them. If you can't do that, you have to refer out. Keep evidenced-based research at the forefront of your care.