Story by: Amy Higgs on September 27, 2019
For Danielle Roberts, her job as a certified nurse midwife (CNM) is “a great marriage of Westernized medicine and holistic care.”
“We see patients from their first prenatal appointment all the way through their delivery and postpartum recovery,” Danielle said. “We provide the same evidence-based medical care as an OB/GYN, with an emphasis on personalized service, and we specialize in natural childbirth.”
She and the other providers at Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care, offer a team approach to women’s health care that includes physicians and nurse practitioners along with CNMs.
“Women can choose our more holistic, natural approach to childbirth and have access to high-level medical care throughout their pregnancy should they need it,” she said.
According to Danielle, a key principle of midwifery is “watchful waiting.” Midwives are trained not to intervene unless it’s medically necessary.
“Pregnancy is not a medical problem; it’s not an illness,” she said. “It’s a natural, normal event in a woman’s life. We’re just there to facilitate it.”
For Danielle, midwifery draws not only on her passion for wellness, it’s also a great fit for her personality. She describes herself as friendly and approachable, which makes connecting with her patients and developing an intimate bond with them easy.
“It usually takes no time at all,” she said.
Danielle is also outspoken about the benefits of midwifery and is on a mission to dispel its common misconceptions.
According to Danielle, some people may think that midwives only facilitate home birth.
“That’s not true at all. Over 90% of midwives deliver babies in a hospital setting,” Danielle said. “We’re highly trained to care for low-risk women and we know when to elevate care to the next level if something’s outside of our scope. I take that very seriously and make my recommendations based on the medical research and evidence.”
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One of her favorite parts of her job is caring for not one, but two patients at a time.
“With childbirth, everyone is focused on welcoming a wonderful new addition to the world,” Danielle said. “But what I love about midwifery is there’s also the birth of the mother. It’s a life-changing, milestone event. To be someone who can advocate for them, educate them, help them to be well and healthy throughout the process — I feel privileged to be that person.”
A native of Warsaw, Indiana, Danielle is the youngest of four children. Everyone in her family was involved in athletics, so she grew up playing a variety of sports. Those experiences fostered a passion for health and fitness that led her to pursue a degree in exercise science (kinesiology) from Indiana University Bloomington. Soon after graduating, she went back for a second bachelor’s degree in nursing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
She then worked for two years in the cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. According to Danielle, the experience has been incredibly valuable to her as a midwife.
“It trained me to be a critical thinker and to always be anticipating what may happen next so that I can be prepared,” she said. “Things can go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth, and I’m not afraid of those situations. I know what to do and how to handle it.”
Danielle and her husband, Jesse Roberts, whom she met during nursing school, worked as ICU travel nurses for a couple of years, which took them to Alaska and New Mexico.
That also helped shape her philosophy of care, because “it exposed me to different cultures and different ways of life, and it opened my mind,” Danielle said.
While working with critically ill patients was rewarding, Danielle found herself gravitating toward a focus on wellness and prevention.
She earned her master’s degree in nursing with a specialty in midwifery at Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky, and most recently worked as a CNM at a women’s health practice in South Carolina before joining Norton Healthcare on Aug. 1. She and her husband, who now have two sons under age 3, were thrilled to be able to move closer to their families.
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