Congratulations Donna Barisich, CNM, MS on being named a 2021 ACNM Fellow!
Ask a Midwife
Have a question for a midwife? Looking for tips for a healthy pregnancy, wondering about the latest research on women's health, or have questions about midwifery? Whatever it is, submit it here! Each month a question will be selected. Read this month's response and browse through past entries.
Meet a Midwife
Why did you become a midwife? For me, becoming a midwife has always been about the opportunity to optimize my ability to educate and empower women physically, emotionally, and spiritually. During my active duty tour in the U.S. Air-Force I served alongside an amazing group of midwives. Their passion for physiologic birth and advocacy for women was contagious. They taught me the value of partnering with women to improve their personal and unique birth experiences and I aspired to follow in their footsteps “one day”. I finished school and worked for many years as a Labor and delivery RN and charge nurse. I spent years watching cascades of unnecessary interventions and caring for women in this increasingly stressful and tense birth environment. It was defeating to see women becoming more and more disconnected with birth. I believe it was this that pushed me to actually start my midwifery journey. I have been practicing full scope midwifery for 7 years now, I feel blessed to be in a position to provide women with birth options and informed choices. It is incredible to witness women building their confidence, trusting their bodies, and ultimately discovering the strength and power they possess. I continue to feel honored and privileged each time a woman chooses to trust me to walk with them during such a profound period of personal growth and transition.
What do you wish women knew about pregnancy and birth? Selecting a maternity care provider and birth setting will ultimately affect the type of care women receive, the involvement they will have in all decisions concerning their pregnancy, as well as the options and choices available to them during birth. I wish women knew how important it is to begin the provider selection process as early as possible. This will ensure that they find a supportive provider who understands the value of trust, educating, and embraces shared decision-making.
What was your own birth experience like? I was very fortunate to experience one spontaneous vaginal birth. It did not go quite as I imagined. I battled pre-term labor and, in due course, met my daughter five weeks early. My birth was the perfect example of why it is important to develop a “birth vision”, and to also remain open physically and emotionally to change. Although my personal experience was, at times, both challenging and tumultuous… it was also my most joyful and prideful life event.
If you could change one thing about women’s health care, what would it be? I believe affordability and access to care have been addressed by my peers and I couldn’t agree more! Additionally, I would like to see more Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) and CNM collaborative models providing complete obstetric care. I believe every woman can benefit from midwifery care despite preexisting comorbidities or pregnancy complications. I have the privilege of working within this type of collaborative model currently here in Tucson, AZ. The partnership and collaborative relationship between MFM and CNM, as well as onsite nurses, genetic counselors, sonographers, and medical assistants offer the most supportive, comprehensive, and convenient care for women experiencing high risk pregnancy.