Caring for the whole woman: Understanding the work of a midwife

You’ve decided that it’s time to start a family or you may have already taken the test and cried tears of joy over the good news. Either way, you’re getting ready to make some very important decisions for your health and the health of your baby.

Is a midwife right for me?

The simple truth is that many of us don’t fully understand what a midwife does and what role they play in our pregnancy, the birth of our babies and beyond.  The word midwife means “with woman” and all over the globe, midwives bring the majority of babies into the world. A modern midwife is trained to treat all of our reproductive health needs – contraception, annual pap tests, treatments for reproductive-health issues, to list a few – as well as help us to bring new life into the world.

“A midwife is there for the whole process – conception, carrying the baby, delivery and breast feeding – we treat the whole person,” explained Greta Gill, Certified Nurse Midwife and Director of Midwifery at the El Rio Health.

Greta Gill, CNM

Pregnancy is not an illness.

The midwife model focuses on the patient, “It’s important for us to get to know each of our patients … to take the time to know what kind of support she needs and what barriers a pregnant mom may have to staying healthy,” says Gill. While a check-up with a traditional OB/GYN might be a few minutes to take some vital signs and ask about any problems, the visit with your midwife is generally more in-depth. Your midwife uses that time to answer your questions and guide you because every pregnancy and every woman’s experience is unique.

Having a safe, comfortable birth … on your terms.

At the center of this family-focused, nurturing approach to childbirth, is the simple belief that pregnancy is a normal, natural process. The vast majority – 90 percent – of pregnant women can benefit from the care of a midwife. A midwife is there to lead your birth team, which may include physician colleagues and anesthesiologists, in supporting, monitoring and helping the natural birth process.

Here in Tucson, many options are available to have the birth that you want. El Rio has a free-standing Birth Center and El Rio midwives are the only midwives in Tucson with admitting privileges in the hospital setting at Tucson Medical Center.

To learn more, reach out to El Rio Health at or call 520-670-3909 to get information about pregnancy care options and to schedule an appointment. Or walk in to any El Rio Community Health Center location for a free pregnancy test.


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About El Rio Community Health Center

Our Mission is to improve the health of our community through comprehensive, accessible, affordable, quality and compassionate care. Our Vision is to be a national model of excellent healthcare.
We are dedicated to serving all people. Since El Rio began in 1970, we have grown to be one of the largest, non-profit community health centers in the United States. We focus on positive health outcomes, treating the whole person and prevention. Our health care is delivered by compassionate, professionally trained integrated health teams who give from their hearts to provide you with caring, high quality, world class care.

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