Can a midwife give an epidural or other medication?

Stacy Hudepohl, CNP, explains the pain interventions and medications that midwives can administer. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Can a midwife give an epidural or other medication?

Women who choose midwives for their birth will deliver in a hospital. The Ohio Board of Nursing has regulated certified nurse midwives to only deliver in a hospital setting. We're unable to deliver in a home. We're lucky enough that in the Cincinnati area and in the Dayton area, many of the hospitals provide a home-like setting, where we could use various techniques to help women in labor, which include hydrotherapy, birthing balls, position changing, use of doulas, and anything really that the woman desires to help her through that time. If she chooses an epidural or she choose medication, that is fine as well. We're perfectly fine with women wanting an epidural or wanting pain medication. We are there to support the woman through her birth and through the type of delivery that she would prefer, of course, all within reason.

Atrium Medical Center has recently opened Natural Beginnings, which is really great because it provides a home-like setting within the safety net of the hospital. It provides a normal bed with water birth, which is really wonderful in this site here because we've not had that. Also, various options for women such as shower, position changes, different birthing balls, and different techniques that we can help the woman along with her birth. Again, focusing on the needs and the desires of the woman along with the healthy mom and a healthy baby. A lot of times, midwives will get the question from moms, "Can I get an epidural during my labor?" The answer to that is absolutely.


While midwifery care facilitates natural birth, and is often a choice for women who wish to give birth without pain intervention, it is a myth that midwives cannot or will not administer epidurals or other medications, states the American College of Nurse MidwivesOff Site Icon (ACNM). At the core of the midwifery model of care is the support of an expectant mother to give birth on her terms, and that includes providing pain intervention if she chooses, according to the ACNM.

Midwives are able to consult with an obstetrician if the patient requires medical intervention beyond the midwife’s capability, according to the American Pregnancy AssociationOff Site Icon (APA). Women with higher-risk pregnancies are usually encouraged to give birth in a hospital environment where other providers are more accessible in the event of complications, according to the APA.

Ask your doctor about having an epidural under midwife care, talk to your doctor.

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