For more than 34 years, even before the opening of Tucson Birth Center in 1982, midwives have been helping women deliver their babies at Tucson Medical Center. Today, we continue to partner with the midwives of the Tucson Birth Center and El Rio Congress to provide the only option in Tucson for women to give birth with the support of a midwife with admitting privileges in the hospital setting.
We celebrate National Midwifery Week with a focus on midwives and the powerful role and impact they have in the evolution of our services for women and the community. Each day we will meet one of the El Rio amazing midwives serving our community.
Meet Sandra Hodges, Certified Nurse Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
Sandra has been at the Birth Center for the past four years, but has been a practicing midwife since 1997.
Why did you choose midwifery?
Midwifery appealed to me when I first did an OB rotation in nursing school. Later one of my head nurses was a midwife and I knew I wanted that path. I really like helping women to identify and achieve their goals, especially for pregnancy and birth! I do enjoy women’s health in general, and have expanded my training and education for gynecological care. I love having the time to talk to women and build relationships.
What impact do you see of having midwives involved in hospital birth and what would you like to see in the future?
I have been able to see how my midwifery practice has influenced change in different places I’ve worked. The doctors I worked with in the first job learned to decrease their episiotomy rates after I joined that practice. Delayed cord clamping has been another way midwives have led change in the hospital settings I’ve worked. I would like women to have the option of water birth at TMC!
What question should expectant mothers ask themselves when considering whether a midwife is the right choice for them?
What do you want out of your pregnancy and birth? Do you have risk factors that require physician management, like diabetes or chronic health problems? Where do you find yourself on the continuum of health promotion versus medical intervention? If you believe that pregnancy and birth are a healthy state for women, then you should consider midwifery.
What is the role of the physical birthing environment at TMC for Women and at The Birth Center aide women during labor and delivery?
Honestly, it’s less the environment and more the woman’s sense of power in her care and place. The nursing care is really a huge part of her experience, and we’re so glad that the women we serve are usually delighted with their nursing care.
Sandra Hodges is a Tucson native. Born at TMC, Sandra graduated from Cholla High School, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a nursing degree. She and her husband Mark both joined the military and served as nurses in the Army. They came back to Tucson in 2012 after Mark retired from 31 years of military service! She has two adult sons who also live in Tucson.