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Midwives bring compassion, expertise to their profession of supporting patients holistically

Midwives bring compassion, expertise to their profession of supporting patients holistically

Rachel Block hoped to deliver her first child through a vaginal birth, but it ended up as a cesarean section. While it’s not traditionally medically recommended, for her second baby she also wanted to undergo a vaginal delivery. To best support her through her pregnancy she thought connecting with a midwife at Carle Health would give her the experience she was looking for.

 “I shared what I wanted for my delivery experience and they were an advocate for me and helped me understand what my options were,” Block said.

Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana has 12 midwives who are currently the largest group of midwives based inside the city limits of Champaign and Urbana. They bring a passion to their work of helping women through the entire labor process, delivery and postpartum follow up. In addition, midwives care for patients needing contraception counseling, preventative healthcare, medication and exams for sexually transmitted diseases.

“We are nurse practitioners who can deliver babies,” Kirstie Brown, DNP, CNM, said. The experience of working with the midwife group is a different approach than a traditional physician relationship. Carle midwives make contact with each pregnant woman so when the woman arrives at Carle Foundation Hospital to give birth, she is familiar with the midwife supporting her. For midwives, that means traveling outside of Champaign to visit patients in towns such as Monticello, Mattoon and Danville as well as Amish communities near Arthur and Arcola. There is always a midwife on call at Carle Foundation Hospital.

“We take good care of our moms, it is good for them and the community as a whole,” Brown said.

Midwife Kristin Hufford-Tims, DNP, APRN, said, “The most rewarding part of being a midwife is we follow women through their lives and also their families. These women trust us to be there in their most vulnerable times. It can be some of the scariest and happy times of their lives.”

Hufford-Tims said her interest in being a midwife dates back to when she was a high school freshman and in the room when her youngest brother was born. “I was completely amazed and it was a privilege to be there with my mother. As I got older I thought who better to empower women than a woman herself.”

Midwife training is about physiological care rather than treating a medical problem, she said. “We are there to educate pregnant women on their options and they ultimately make the decision.”

At the same time, the work of midwives is not segregated only to those who identify as women. Carle midwives also take pride in being approachable and caring for binary patients. “We are here for you,” Brown said.

Carle Health is proud to offer a variety of ways to experience high-quality, local healthcare. Learn more about Midwifery Services at

Categories: Culture of Quality, Community

Tags: Champaign-Urbana, midwifery, pregnancy