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 Shelley McGrew, Certified Nurse Midwife
Shelley was born at TMC and grew up in Oracle, AZ. She lived and began her work with pregnant and birthing women in NYC from 1986-1999, returning back to AZ and have been here since.
“I have been a CNM for two years. I became a massage therapist specializing in perinatal massage in 1990, then became a labor doula and childbirth educator for many years. In 1997 I became an RN and worked for many years as a labor & delivery nurse before finally realizing my dream and becoming a midwife at age 50.”
Why did you choose midwifery?
“Midwifery is about being with women through their lifecycle – supporting normalcy with evidence-based care – providing education and resources so they can be empowered in their own health. What could be better?!”
What do you love about being a midwife?
“Empowering women – supporting them as they discover their own strengths. From contraception to childbearing to menopause.”
What impact do you see of having midwives involved in hospital birth?
“Midwives contribute to TMC being in the top 10 hospitals in the nation with the lowest cesarean rates. Being part of the amazing team of nurses and doctors at TMC allows us to provide midwifery care to women with diverse backgrounds and needs.”
What would you like to see in the future?
“I’d like to see even more physical and policy support for natural and low intervention hospital births.”
Is a midwife is the right choice for me?
“Do you have any health issues that need OB or perinatologist care? Are you planning a vaginal birth? What type of birth experience are you hoping for?”
At both the Birth Center and in TMC for Women’s remodeled rooms there is a focus on environment, what and how do you feel this aids women in birthing?
“A peaceful environment helps women relax, feel safe and have privacy which facilitates the birth process. I appreciate TMC’s policy of allowing women to have who they choose with them at their birth without external constraints – this autonomy is important and is culturally sensitive.”
What gives you the greatest joy in your work?
“The look of joy & accomplishment when a woman meets her baby. I also love it when the dads cry.”