NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Saint Peter’s University Hospital has hired its first midwife.

The New Brunswick hospital recently hired Joanne Cunha, a nurse midwife, to help grow its burgeoning midwifery program, according to an announcement. Hospital officials plan to hire additional midwives in the near future.

“With more than 5,600 newborns delivered every year at Saint Peter’s, we are excited to enhance our renowned maternity services with this new midwifery program,” said, Edwin Guzman, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, which oversees the new initiative. “We look forward to expanding the number of midwives in the coming months.”

Sign Up for E-News

Cunha is slated to care for women during pregnancy and through birth. She will also provide routine gynecologic care, according to Saint Peter’s.

She will lead child deliveries in the hospital’s labor and delivery areas, which officials tout as a “safe alternative to home births.”

Saint Peter’s midwifery program is set to design a “birthing plan” for each expecting mother, according to the hospital. Such programs could include women walking around while in labor, giving birth without pain medication, using “music therapy” and tools like a birthing ball or soaking in a tub, Guzman said in a statement.

These alternative delivery options will be available to all women, whether they choose the aid of a midwife or an obstetrician, Guzman said.

Cunha plans to see patients at Saint Peter’s Women’s Ambulatory Services practice, 123 How Ln., New Brunswick. To make an appointment, call 732-339-7879.

Cunha is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

She holds a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery and women’s health from the Columbia University School of Nursing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Cook College, Rutgers University.