National Midwifery Week births attention to women’s health care

Certified Nurse Midwife Jennifer Wright-Bennion (Submitted photo)

National Midwifery Week, Sept. 30–Oct. 6, not only raises awareness to the work of midwives but births attention to women’s health care.

Created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care, the nationally recognized event is held Sunday to Saturday during the first full week of October, according to published reports.

By raising awareness about the impact midwives have on women and their families’ lives, people learn about how much midwives make a difference when it comes to midwife-led care and their contributions to helping deliver numerous babies in safe environments.

Banner Health Center on Ellsworth Loop in Queen Creek is a place where women can learn about comprehensive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care for mothers and their babies as each year Banner’s maternity teams deliver more than 30,000 babies at the group’s hospitals, according to bannerhealth.com.

From preparing women’s bodies before pregnancy to making sure they are supported afterward, Banner’s Queen Creek Birthing Center involves more than the day of the birth but a lifetime of health care for generations of families with staff around the clock caring for moms and babies in the safety of the hospital setting.

Making appointments to answer questions, providing education and guidance according to patients’ needs is what Jennifer Wright-Bennion, a certified nurse midwife since 1999, has done her whole career.

The advanced practice registered nurse explains how she specializes in caring for women throughout their lives. She discusses choices women and families make to achieve the best and safest birth experience like unmedicated/natural childbirth or epidural to manage comfort during labor.

A University of Utah in Salt Lake City graduate, with a master’s degree in nurse midwifery, she encourages women to be as involved in their pregnancy care and birth as much as possible.

In addition to serving in women’s health care as a labor and delivery nurse, her stellar credentials include receiving a four-year award from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Health Service Corps for continuing to provide access to healthcare for women in underserved areas.

The ACNM member enjoys helping new babies enter the world, she says, just as much as she enjoys spending time with her husband and children doing hobbies that include biking, swimming or quilting.

Let her deliver (pun intended) the scenario for you as she answers the following questionnaire.

How long have you been a certified nurse midwife?
I have been a CNM for about 20 years.

Occupation:
Certified nurse midwife/OBGYN nurse practitioner

Why you chose to work in the healthcare industry:
Choosing to work in the healthcare industry was the result of my personal healthcare experiences and interactions with my nurse midwife when I was pregnant and having my babies.

Additionally, I worked as a clinic coordinator for a group of pediatric nurse practitioners who were excellent role models and encouraged me to follow my dream to be a Certified Nurse Midwife/OBGYN Nurse Practitioner.

I’ve always wanted to focus on women’s issues and women’s healthcare.

What I like most about what I do:
What I like most about being a certified nurse midwife is the ability to develop a rapport with my patients over the course of their pregnancy that results with the birth of a beautiful baby.

It is an amazingly happy time! Seeing my patient’s grow their families over the years is very rewarding. Over the years, I have developed lasting relationships with patients who have returned again and again for multiple pregnancies and births, and continue to return year after year for ongoing healthcare.

As a certified nurse midwife, I care for women across the lifespan from ages 9 to 99 years.

Where were you born and raised?
Charleston, South Carolina and Tucson, Arizona

Does your family consist of spouse, kids, parents, pets?
I enjoy living in Queen Creek with my amazing husband of over 20 years, Rex Bennion. We have three wonderful children and one canine fur baby.

If I chose a different occupation it might have been:
I considered becoming a high school math or biology teacher. I love to teach and being a nurse practitioner offers many patient teaching opportunities without elaborate lesson plans.

What is a challenging aspect of your job?
I make a major commitment to my OB patients to be on-call 24/7 when they go into labor at unpredictable times during the day and night, which can make pulling off a successful date night or dinner with friends quite an undertaking and a major achievement.

But, I definitely acknowledge what a privilege and honor it is to be an active participant in a patient’s birth experience. To be present and take part in such an amazing life event that adding a new family member and birthing a baby in to the world really is — well, it truly is an honor and my privilege.

So in my mind, the commitment of being on-call 24/7 certainly is the most challenging aspect, but hands down is certainly the most rewarding part of being a certified nurse midwife.

People who inspired me:
Nurse practitioners

Something I want my clients to know about me:
I want my patients to know that I strive for excellence, respect their choice to birth their baby when and with whom they choose; and I will always work to provide a safe, comfortable birthing environment within the hospital setting.

My advice to today’s youth:
My advice to today’s youth would be to recognize the importance of lifelong learning and optimize all opportunities for education you have available.

Also, continue to communicate with your parents because they truly do have your best interest at heart and want the best for you in life.

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