Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 14, 2014

Misunderstanding looms about midwives

Watt tells Cedar Creek Lake Rotarians she is here to ‘catch babies’ at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — Midwife Karen Watt will readily tell you, “If you decide to use a midwife to deliver your child, expect to be met with disapproval and resistance.”

Many people misunderstand the work of nurse midwives. For example, most people don’t understand that nurse-midwives can provide pain medication. So, if you have a nurse-midwife, you can still have an epidural or IV meds, if you want them.

Watt said she is here to “catch babies” at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Kaufman.  Watt was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Texas Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Preceptor Award.  Watt is a nurse midwife, and received the award for her accomplishments in nursing education. 

According to Watt, the requirements to become a midwife are  a masters degree in nursing, a national exam to become certified and a physician agreement.

Watt, the guest speaker at a recent Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake meeting, said she is paying forward.

Watt, a recipient of a Rotary Club Scholarship, said she received part of her education due to the Rotary Club. She talked to club members  during its weekly meeting at Cedar Creek Country Club about the evolving Nurse Midwife program. She said the term “midwife” means “to be with woman.”

According to Watt, midwifery practice has undergone remarkable changes over the last 75 years. In the early part of the 20th Century, the only place midwives could attend births was at home. She said the midwife would travel up the mountains, and in the hollows of Kentucky to deliver babies. She said there is much more to being a Nurse Midwife today.

The midwife program is a fairly new concept at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Kaufman. Watt, who was recently named the new Nurse Midwife at the hospital, said she will see  her patients at the Kaufman Presbyterian Hospital Professional Building, and deliver the children in the hospital.  Midwives can’t perform a C-section. But a physician is always nearby, if a C-section is needed, or a complication arises during delivery. 

According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, 96 percent of babies delivered by nurse-midwives are delivered in hospitals.

Watts said the cost of the midwives services are generally lower than a physician, depending on the place, educational background and context for the midwifery practice.

The midwife office at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Kaufman expects to open by the end of January or first of February.