Crawford County residents interested in learning more about birthing services need not call the midwife. Instead, she will be conducting a free public education series in Robinson this month.
Crawford County native Debra Lowrance is a certified nurse midwife, women's health nurse practitioner and a lactation consultant. She has worked in Decatur the past few years and is a professor at the University of Illinois.
She recently opened Labor of Love Midwifery and Women's Health Services, 309 N. Jefferson, Robinson, to offer holistic care to the women of Crawford County and surrounding areas.
Lowrance will present a community birth series at her office from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays this month. First up is "Evidence Behind Birth" this Thursday.
Information on comfort measures are the focus of "Prepared for Birth" March 12, while breastfeeding essentials are the topic of "Breastfeeding Success at Birth and Beyond." The final session, "The Birth Circle," offers empowerment to women through telling of their birthing experiences.
Lowrance plans to play host to other free events in the future in an effort to educate and empower women. She also intends to add some free health care services for those who have not had care in a long time for whatever reason or those who do not have the financial means.
Midwives provide health care services to women of all ages and work with women to make important health care decisions. They work with other health care professionals but also can be a woman's primary care provider.
They can provide general health services, annual checkups, contraception, menopausal care, and treatments for common infections and health care problems. They also provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, delivery and the postpartum period.
Midwives can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, birthing centers or in homes. Lowrance sees women both in her office and at their homes.
There are many different types of midwives, she said, but only Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed to practice in Illinois.
"Midwifery is a growing profession across the United States and rightly so with much evidence of improved outcomes surrounding the care received from midwives," Lowrance explained. "In many countries, midwifery is the standard of care for low-risk women."