The Bay Park Women's Services Certified Nurse Midwives recently opened a neighborhood facility in Point Place.
And while the staff members already feel at home, they are hoping that new patients will feel at home in their office, too.
The Certified Nurse Midwives are Kay Smith, Sandy Nuzum, Judy Lamp and Sue Sommer.
The facility is located at 4805 Suder Avenue, just off I-75.
Services include gynecology, menopause health management, family-oriented prenatal visits and birth experience, alternative pain control methods during labor, diagnosis and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases, and breastfeeding support.
"Midwifery is one of the oldest professions in the world,"explained Ms. Nuzum, M.S., C.N.M. "It started very positive, and then was not looked well upon after physicians started handling more births. But it's making a rebound."
She said the group wants to dispel the myth that once women no longer are having children, they have no need for a midwife.
"We do more than deliver babies," she said.
Their goal is to provide "a continuum of care" for women from adolescence to menopause.
Ms. Smith emphasized that the midwives are not working in competition with OB/GYNs and physicians.
"We want to complement the practice of OB/GYNs, we appreciate them," she said.
The midwives work together with physicians at Bay Park Community Hospital, who handle surgical and emergency needs of patients.
"It's a great collaborative work relationship with physicians," said Ms. Smith, M.S.N., C.N.M. "We feel that we're an extension of them-not in competition."
Along with that relationship, she also explained that the midwives are open to holistic and alternative practices, but their work is based on science. For instance, all births are done at the hospital.
"We don't deliver babies at home,"Ms. Nuzum said. "We do try to accommodate their needs in a medical setting, and make the birth as 'homey' as possible in the hospital."
In addition, they will spend "a lot of time" with women in labor from the early stages and focus on holistic pain management, she added.
The midwives also want to serve patients who have not necessarily received much care in women's health areas.
"Often they don't have care-that's why we come into the community, into the neighborhood," Ms. Smith explained. "A lot of times, people don't understand their bodies, what it means, and what it does."
They noted that the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention (BCCP) program is state-funded to provide for costs of uninsured women to receive mammographies and annual visits.
"Women who had not received care for years, as soon as our doors opened, came in, were diagnosed and helped to be safe," Ms. Smith said.
As Certified Nurse Midwives, the four women are Registered Nurses trained at the master's level, who have passed a national exam, and are certified through the American College of Nurse Midwifery and licensed by the state.
Patients can find more information by visiting the Web site, midwife.org, which explains their duties.
The office also offers free courtesy visits where women are welcome to meet with a midwife and ask questions about their services.
Coming from a nursing perspective, they believe their training has especially focused on communication.
"We listen to women and their needs in a way that makes them individuals, and we've built a reputation for individual care," Ms. Smith said.
The midwives see patients on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be expanding hours with the addition of more patients.