Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses with additional graduate training in midwifery, who provide pregnant women accessible, dignified care, emphasizing choices and minimizing medical interventions without sacrificing the latest medical care.
While doctors budget their time to deal with pregnancy complications, midwives have the luxury of spending time on a broad spectrum of concerns that pregnant women have. At each prenatal visit, their goal is to discuss whatever is on a woman's mind — from birth plans to choosing a car seat.
More and more women are choosing to place their prenatal care, labor and delivery in the hands of a midwife, usually in a hospital rather than at home. Nationwide, there are more than 7,000 midwives who participate in 10 percent of the births.
UCSF Medical Center was in the forefront of midwifery care and has a 30-year tradition of including midwives as part of the obstetrical team, where they provide care for pregnant women, attend births and teach as part of the UCSF faculty.
At UCSF, midwives and doctors work together. If your pregnancy becomes high-risk or complications arise, you don't have to abandon your midwife. You can continue to see your midwife and see an obstetrician or perinatologist for management of complications.
A common misconception is that women choose midwifes only if they want a "natural" or unmedicated childbirth. Although assisting in natural childbirth is one of their strengths, their primary goal is to help you make your choices.
Midwives are trained to see childbirth as a normal, healthy event. They favor avoiding procedures and medical interventions whenever possible, which has resulted in positive effects on the culture of labor and delivery at UCSF. For instance, episiotomies, a surgical cut between the vagina and the rectum, made during the final stages of labor and delivery, used to be standard. Now, it occurs in only 5 percent of births at UCSF. This shift was due in part to the influence of midwives and the open minds of doctors who work with them.
At UCSF, midwives serve patients at all four obstetrics clinics.
Centering Pregnancy Program
The Centering Pregnancy Program at UCSF Women's Health Center takes women out of exam rooms and into groups for their prenatal care. Learn more here.
Clinics we work with
Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mount Zion
2356 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94143
Gynecologic Surgery & Urogynecology at Mission Bay – Owens St.
1500 Owens St., Suite 380
San Francisco, CA 94158
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Perinatal Specialties at Mission Bay – Fourth Street
Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building
1825 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Great Expectations Pregnancy Classes
Get ready for the baby! Choose from a variety of classes that prepare moms and partners for pregnancy, birth, baby care, breastfeeding and parenting.
Lactation Consultant Support
Get support for all your breastfeeding needs. Troubleshoot with a lactation consultant, find equipment and supplies, join a support group and more.
Women's Health Resource Center
Access a range of UCSF women's health resources, such as classes, support groups, a lending library and services focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.