Regina Mash, certified nurse midwife, makes decisions with the mom, not for her.
Regina Mash, CNM, knows what it’s like to be told, rather than asked how she wants to deliver her children.
That’s one of many reasons the certified nurse midwife, whose four sons range in age from 14 to 23, is passionate about empowering women to have a voice in their childbirth experiences.
“When I had my kids, my OB providers didn’t ask me what I wanted,” she said. “They just told me what I was going to do without giving me an option to incorporate my desires.”
As a certified nurse midwife with Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care, Regina offers an alternative approach to women’s health care. She focuses on strong personal connections, continuous emotional support and shared decision-making.
“I listen to the woman, hear what she’s saying, provide education regarding available treatment options and make decisions with her, not for her, ” Regina said.
Midwives are trained to trust a woman’s body to go through the natural process of labor without intervening unless it becomes medically necessary or desired by the patient. They schedule extended time with expectant mothers on each prenatal visit and develop deep relationships with their patients and their families..
“A midwife is a nurse practitioner who specializes in caring for women from adolescence to menopause,” Regina said. “We take care of young, healthy women who want to be empowered to participate in their health care, and we partner with OB/GYN physicians to augment that care if they become higher risk.”
Also, according to Regina, midwives generally stay with their patients at the bedside throughout labor and delivery at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, even if other specialists need to participate for the safety of mom or baby.
“Patients don’t lose us as a provider; they gain a specialist,” Regina said.
Building Relationships With Patients
Regina described herself as someone who has never met a stranger, which has proven to be a huge asset in her job. Her patients come to trust her very quickly.
“I set their mind at ease,” she said. “I help them establish a birthing plan that incorporates their desired experience surrounding the birth of their baby.”
As part of her holistic approach to care, Regina gets to know patients individually, learning where they work, their hobbies and what their challenges are at home. That relationship doesn’t end after delivery. According to Regina, her goal is to provide gynecologic care for patients for the rest of their lives.
“If it was their first baby, they usually come back for more babies,” Regina said. “It’s even more fun to take care of them the second and third time.”
Patients who choose Norton’s will benefit from a team approach and the safety of a hospital setting, Mash adds that CNM’s at Norton Women and Children’s are able to be there with their patients during a Cesarean section if it becomes needed.
Learning the Midwifery Model
Regina came to midwifery later in life. She was born in Hillsdale, Michigan, and grew up in the Tampa, Florida, area. From a young age, she was good at math and science
In addition, she said, “I always found myself helping people in one way or another.”
As a young mom, Regina moved to Kentucky in her 20s and focused on raising her children for several years before going back to school in the early 2000s. She previously worked as a certified nursing assistant and enjoyed it. That, combined with her head for numbers and a passion for helping others, led her to pursue an associate degree in nursing at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
“It came to me easy,” Regina said.
She worked as a labor and delivery nurse, and a few years later, went back for her bachelor’s degree in nursing from McKendree University Kentucky campus in Radcliff, thinking she might want to become a nurse manager.
“The more I got into it, the more I realized that I did not want to leave the bedside,” Regina said.
She loved working as a labor and delivery nurse, but wanted to help women make informed healthcare choices. That led her to get a master’s degree in nursing with a specialty in midwifery from Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky. Regina came to Norton Healthcare in July from TJ Health Partners in Glasgow, Kentucky.