Midwifery Care

A mother holding her newborn baby, with a female health care provider smiling and admiring the baby.
OHSU nurse-midwife Olivia Kroening-Roché greets patient Megan Johnson and Johnson’s baby. Johnson described her birth experience with the midwifery program as “really wonderful.”

OHSU’s certified nurse-midwives offer woman-to-woman care at our Center for Women’s Health. We focus on your well-being through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. We offer you:

  • Expert support for the natural birth process.
  • Experienced, highly trained nurse-midwives.
  • Well-woman care that focuses on your physical, emotional and social well-being.
  • Water birth, VBAC and group prenatal care programs.
  • Respect and support for your childbirth plan.
  • Access to other OHSU specialists and services if needed.
  • Access to the latest research and care innovations.

Our excellence

Becoming a nurse-midwife requires at least eight years of education and training. All of our nurse-midwives:

  • Are highly trained, licensed and certified health care professionals.
  • Are registered nurses with master’s degrees or doctorates in midwifery.
  • Have passed a rigorous national exam.

Care that puts you first: You will always remember your pregnancy and birth experience. Our nurse-midwives honor pregnancy and birth as normal and natural. We will support your hopes and plans for your experience with compassion and respect.

Safe childbirth: We deliver babies at OHSU in close cooperation with doctors and specialists on our childbirth team. This means we have immediate access to high-risk or emergency services, if needed, including top doctors and newborn intensive care.

Why choose a midwife?

OHSU nurse-midwives:

  • Provide compassionate, respectful and family-centered care.
  • Strongly support normal-term, spontaneous, natural births.
  • Empower you to make informed decisions about your health.
  • Provide lots of labor support and welcome working with your doula.
  • Offer longer appointments than traditional clinics.

Our services

We offer complete maternity and well-woman care. You can expect:

We offer 20-minute appointments to new pregnancy patients. It’s a great way for you to ask questions and learn about our approach to childbirth. We can get to know you, your hopes and your concerns for your pregnancy and birth. Call 503-418-4500 to schedule.

We talk with you about your wishes and what’s important to you as your labor and delivery unfold. These priorities go into your birth preferences plan. The plan can be added to your chart. It guides everyone on your care team when you arrive to have your baby.

Your plan might include:

  • Your choices about who should be there to support you.
  • How you’d like to set up the birthing suite.
  • Whether you want pain medication and, if so, what kind and when it should be offered.
  • What labor aids — such as birthing balls or heating pads — you might use.
  • What kind of care you’d like after your baby is born.

You’ll find gentle care across your life span, including:

  • Unhurried annual exams
  • A full range of screening tests
  • Treatment for abnormal Pap tests
  • Evaluation and treatment of vaginal and sexually transmitted infections
  • Sensitive care for sexual concerns
  • Family planning advice, including putting in IUDs and implants
  • Natural and conventional treatments for symptoms of menopause
  • Screening for bone loss
  • Referral to other OHSU departments as needed

This combines your pregnancy care with a discussion and support group. You can expect:

  • In-depth health and pregnancy education.
  • More time with our midwives.
  • A supportive community of other pregnant women.

Learn more about our group prenatal care.

Our certified nurse-midwives strongly support vaginal birth after cesarean. We offer:

  • A high success rate: About 80% of the women who try a VBAC with our nurse-midwives achieve their goal.
  • Compassionate care: Past birth experiences can have a profound effect on your health. We welcome an open discussion with you.
  • A safe setting: You will have access to all the excellent medical resources at OHSU.

Learn more about VBAC at OHSU.

Women with a low-risk pregnancy can choose to labor and/or give birth in a tub of heated water set up right in the birthing suite. We have more than 20 years of experience supporting women with normal pregnancies through water birth.

Learn more about having a water birth with an OHSU nurse-midwife.

We will discuss all your pain relief options with you and then support you in your decisions. We offer a wide range of options, including:

  • Water therapy, with a jetted tub and shower in every room
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Guided breathing
  • Walking, moving and changing positions
  • Using birth balls or stools
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • IV pain medications
  • Epidurals and spinal blocks

We offer advice on what to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. If you have gestational diabetes or other concerns, we will refer you to a registered dietitian. Our trained professionals can help you make an eating plan that’s healthy for you and your baby.

Learn more about nutrition during pregnancy.

We provide referrals to advanced testing and counseling at OHSU, including:

A mother in a hospital bed holding her newborn baby, who is barely starting to open its eyes.

What to expect

Our facilities: Our large, private birthing rooms include jetted tubs and showers. We encourage you to make the space your own by adjusting the lights, playing music or using flameless candles.

Who can join me? (Please see our coronavirus resources page to learn about our temporary visitor policy.) You can include:

  • Your birth partner
  • Your doula
  • Family and friends

Team care: During your pregnancy, we recommend that you work closely with one or two midwives. A midwife who is new to you may be on duty when you come in to have your baby. Working as a team allows us to be emotionally available and well rested during your labor and birth.

This statement is one small way to show our commitment to equity and anti-racism. We know that a statement alone is not enough. The experience of our BIPOC patients and their health outcomes are the true measure of our success. 

We believe that centering our clients by building relationships and making shared decisions with them promotes health. We believe every person deserves access to midwifery care. We believe that our role as midwives is both to provide that care and to work to change the health care system so everyone has access to patient-centered midwifery care. 

We know that healthcare systems do not treat people of all races equally. This unequal treatment leads to poor health outcomes, especially in BIPOC communities. For pregnant people, this can lead to a higher risk of preterm birth, low birth-weight, and death. We work and learn in systems built on white supremacy. They center white bodies and white voices. Racism, not race, is the real cause of the high rate of death during childbirth for black people and of unfair access to abortion care.

We promise to create a space where patients feel welcomed, represented, supported and safe. We promise to provide care that is culturally affirming and respectful. We understand the dynamics of power and privilege, and promise to help create a system that lifts up the voices and improves outcomes for BIPOC people. 

We write this as a group of mostly white-presenting nurse-midwives. We as individuals are working to dismantle our own white supremacy. We also know that we must change our midwifery team to reflect those we serve. We are examining our hiring practices through a racial equity lens and listening to our BIPOC patients’ concerns and needs.

We know that the history of racism in gynecologic care affects the experience of our BIPOC patients today. We promise to provide trauma-informed and gender-respectful care to all patients. Anti-racism is a practice. We are committed to this work.

Learn more

For patients

Call 503-418-4500:

  • To schedule an appointment.
  • If you’re pregnant, to schedule a free 20-minute “Get to Know You” appointment.

Learn about our midwifery care at Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly Tuality).

Location

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Kohler Pavilion, seventh floor
808 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239

‘A true sense of joy and awe’

Meet Laura Jenson, an OHSU nurse-midwife and faculty member. Learn about her passion for caring for patients and supporting students.

Benefits of midwifery

A female health care provider hugging another woman in a hospital room.

See a video in which OHSU certified nurse-midwife Olivia Kroening-Roché and patient Megan Johnson talk about how midwives partner with patients.

Stay informed

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