Midwifery – Certified Nurse Midwives | MedStar Health
A nurse examines a pregnant woman's belly during an office visit.

MedStar Health offers the services of certified nurse midwives dedicated to providing well-woman services, from routine gynecological care to reproductive health care. Midwives also manage labor and delivery for patients who choose them as providers.

Our midwives are trained professionals who expertly combine the therapeutic value of human presence, skillful communication, and appropriate use of interventions and technology to promote health and healing.

Midwives are an integral part of the Women's Health team. They provide patients with the highest quality midwifery care through excellence in practice, education, and research.


Our midwife model of health care is founded on the following principles:

  • Every woman has the right to make an informed choice and to actively participate in all aspects of her health care

  • Self-determination

  • Shared decision-making

  • Respect for cultural diversity

Midwifery care honors the normalcy of women's lifecycle events by providing physical care, emotional and social support, and health education to women and their families.


Our midwives offer well-woman services across the age spectrum, through the outpatient health center, the adolescent center, and private offices.

Our services:

  • Continuous, around-the-clock availability for management of labor and delivery

  • Care during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period

  • Family planning services

  • Routine gynecologic care whether planning pregnancy or not

Midwives are experts in women's reproductive and sexual health care needs in the absence of pathological or medical complications.

Midwives specialize in laboring mothers who desire un-medicated birth, though if medication is requested, they can help you choose which is best for you. Time and focus are spent on supporting you through your labor in order to facilitate a normal vaginal delivery of a healthy baby with as little intervention as possible.

If complications arise during the course of care, midwives consult with one of the staff obstetricians to determine the appropriate course of action.

Along with their clinical practices, our midwives are active in the education of fellow midwives, medical students, and residents. They also participate in clinical and behavioral research focused on maternal and child health outcomes.

Our providers

Loral Patchen, MedStar Health midwife, vists with a patient in her hospital room.

Expert midwifery care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our midwifery specialists.

Frequently asked questions

  • Q: What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

    A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a health care provider trained in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Midwives provide primary health care to women of all ages, during pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, for gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal management. Midwives believe that interventions should be kept at a minimum unless medically necessary. 

    The Midwives of MedStar provide services at the MedStar Health and its out-patient office sites. We attend births on the Labor and Delivery Unit at the hospital. We work independently but have access to the team of physicians at MedStar Health for consultation and referral if needed.

  • Q: How does midwifery care differ from physician care?

    Generally, the medical care we provide will be very similar to that provided in a regular OB/GYN office. We see patients every month at the beginning of pregnancy, every two weeks from 28 weeks and every week from 36 weeks to delivery. We offer all the routine prenatal testing available, including blood work and sonograms. We spend a lot of time discussing your individual situation, concerns, and desires. We spend a lot of time on education to help you maintain a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby vaginally. We employ a "High Touch, Low Tech” approach whenever possible.

    We specialize in laboring mothers who desire un-medicated birth. We spend time supporting you through your labor in order to facilitate a normal vaginal delivery of a healthy baby with as little intervention as possible. We encourage mobility, the use of birthing balls, and showers while intermittently monitoring fetal well-being. We also encourage, teach, and support breastfeeding through the use of skin-to-skin contact.

  • Q: What if I have a complication during pregnancy or experience an emergency during labor?

    Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and labor. If complications do arise, we will work closely with the team of staff obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and neonatologists at MedStar Health to determine the best course of action. We will remain involved in your care even if primary management is transferred to the physicians.

  • Q: Can I choose which midwife I want to deliver my baby?

    The Midwives of MedStar work closely together. Although you may not have met each of us over the course of your pregnancy, we discuss all of our patients together at least once a month. We know you even if you do not know us. The midwives as a group cover our patients 24/7 and rotate our on-call schedule, therefore, you will not be able to choose who will be at the birth. We understand the anxieties that surround labor and birth and your need to feel as secure as possible. We get to know our patients well during the labor process and can provide you with the individualized care you desire.

  • Q: What if I want pain medication or an epidural during labor?

    The Midwives of MedStar will provide a labor experience that is in keeping with safety and patient satisfaction. Should you desire pain medication, the midwives can help you choose which is best for you given your individual circumstances. We have anesthesiologists on the Labor unit at all times who are available to us as we need. A variety of pain management options, including epidurals, are available.

  • Q: Do you allow vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?

    In general, we and the OB department at MedStar Health, support Trial of Labor after Cesarean and VBAC for women who desire it and whose medical circumstances allow it. There are rare cases in which a trial of labor is not advised. Please discuss your individual circumstances with the midwives. Your individual circumstances will be reviewed and assessed during your initial visit.

  • Q: How long do I have to stay in the hospital after my delivery?

    Typical hospital stays for a normal vaginal delivery are 48 hours. Typical stays after a cesarean section are 72 hours. However, we have recently started a voluntary early discharge program. Healthy moms and babies with uncomplicated deliveries now have the option to leave the hospital 24 hours after birth. Please speak with your midwife after you deliver to determine if you meet the criteria for an early discharge.

  • Q: What if I’m not pregnant, not planning to have a baby, or done with childbearing, can I still see a midwife?

    Absolutely! The Midwives of MedStar provide routine gynecological care for women of all ages including annual physical exams, breast exams, pap smears, birth control, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, as well as peri-menopausal care.

Virtual tours

  • MedStar Franklin Square Hospital Center Women’s Pavilion

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  • MedStar Montgomery Medical Center Maternity Unit

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  • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Women and Newborn Center

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  • MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Women's Health & Family Birthing Center

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  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center Family Birth Place

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Midwifery locations

Distance from Change location

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.

Baltimore, MD, 21237

Midwifery Services at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

106 Irving Street NW

North Tower 4400

Washington, , DC 20010

MedStar St Mary's Hospital

25500 Point Lookout Rd.

Leonardtown, MD, 20650