RARITAN TWP., NJ - Hunterdon Medical Center reached a milestone last month, and Cindy and Joe Harris of Clinton share in the achievement.

HMC midwives delivered their 5,000th baby on Feb. 2.

Midwife Deirdre Horvath, CNM, APN-C, assisted Cindy in the birth of her healthy baby girl named Joanna Esther. She is the Harris’ sixth child and first daughter.

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The midwives at Hunterdon Medical Center practice at All Women’s Healthcare, a collaborative practice with Dr. Mamie Bowers where doctors and midwives work together with a focus on advancing and promoting women’s health throughout the life cycle. They have been attending to women, babies and their families since the early 1980s, and now have four midwives and four OB/GYNs. All of their deliveries have been at HMC.

Midwifery is a long-standing option for women who desire the personal care and touch of a midwife. Their birth philosophy is that of low intervention for optimal birth outcomes.

“Midwives support natural physiologic childbirth, while supporting what the expecting mother wants through shared decision making,” said Catherine Angell McCabe, CNM, APN-C. “We educate clients about natural childbirth, but always do what is in the best interest of the mother during labor and delivery.

“We also have a doctor available for any high risk situation to support the midwife,” McCabe said. Evidence shows that women who have continuous support during labor need less interventions, less medication, are more stable and their labor progresses faster. 

All certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives are licensed by the sgtate Board of Medical Examiners. Since the 1950s, midwives have been following state guidelines and standards set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), the premier professional membership organizations dedicated to the improvement of women’s health. 

In 1988, Wendy Marchesi Kaggerud was the first midwife to practice at HMC, with the encouragement and support of obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Ruby Huttner. It was the only private practice with certified nurse-midwives within a tri-county radius. It was important at the time to have the support of a physician because no midwives in the tri-county area had hospital privileges.

The practice grew and has served as a model for other midwife practices, eventually becoming All Women’s Healthcare where Wendy Kaggerud and Dr. Mamie Bowers practiced as partners with Judy Catenacci, CNM and Barbara Labrie, CNM who is still practicing now with more than 25 years’ experience.

“Hunterdon Medical Center’s Maternity and Newborn Care Center has newly renovated spacious state-of-the art rooms where women can walk freely, birth in alternative positions, use hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, HypnoBirthing or Lamaze,” McCabe said. “There are the comforts of a birth center bringing the home to the hospital, with 24/7 obstetricians, neonatologists or anesthesiologists available if needed.”

For more information about about midwifery, attend the 14th Annual Baby, Tot and Kid Fair on April 7 in HMC’s main lobby. McCabe will be presenting “Why Choose a Midwife” at 10 a.m.

To learn more about Maternal and Newborn Services at Hunterdon Medical Center visit the website.