FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 12, 2016) -- Martin Army Community Hospital's Midwifery Service celebrated National Midwifery Week and its first year of service with a birthday celebration on Oct. 5.

Since the first patient delivered in July of last year, the five certified nurse midwives on staff at Martin Army Community Hospital have provided individualized, holistic, evidenced-based care to 144 mothers in the Fort Benning Community. Many of these women returned with their babies on Wednesday to share stories, food, hugs and raffle prizes. Maj. Sarah Ohm, certified nurse midwife, chief of the midwifery services, said, "We understand our patients have choices and this is our opportunity to thank the amazing women who choose to trust the midwifery service with their care."

The midwifery service is available through the Department of Women's Health and Newborn Care to women experiencing uncomplicated, low-risk, singleton pregnancies.

"We have this great service that we offer to our beneficiaries that allows them to take charge of their healthcare and experience the joys of motherhood," said Ohm.

Certified nurse midwives are experts in the care and management of normal pregnancy and childbirth, as well as routine well-women and gynecologic care. The midwifery team at MACH are available 24/7 to provide compassionate, family-centered, low-intervention and evidence-based perinatal care.

Enrollment in the midwifery service is limited to 12 mothers per month to give the most personalized care possible.

"The relationship with these 12 mothers is approached as a collaborative partnership. Once you're in the Midwife program, we ask that you be an active participant in your care and approach pregnancy as a state of health and well-being," said Ohm. The midwives on the team help patients focus on the fundamentals of a healthy pregnancy such as: healthy diet, exercise, appropriate weight gain, avoiding smoking and other environmental risks, education, delaying induction of labor until medically necessary and the sparing use of medical technology-based on sound medical evidence only.

In support of healthy newborns, focus is on parent education, uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. MAJ Ohm highlighted the fact that the certified nurse midwives at MACH are credentialed to first assist in cesarean sections, so they are able to accompany their patients who need an unplanned cesarean delivery into surgery, and continue that individualized care. MACH is also now offering newborn skin-to-skin contact in the OR to give those babies the same benefits as babies born vaginally.

"We are able to offer all these services because the Obstetricians and Midwives at MACH have a wonderful, collegial, collaborative, and supportive relationship. It is the goal of the entire Department of Women's Health to give our beneficiaries the best possible pregnancy and birth experience in a safe and supportive environment," said Ohm.

Every certified nurse midwife at Martin Army Community Hospital is American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) certified, state licensed and each holds an active membership in the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).

For questions about the midwifery program or for a tour of the facility, please call 762-408-5092. More information can be found at www.midwife.org.