Frequently Asked Questions



What is a certified nurse-midwife?

A certified nurse-midwife is an person educated in both nursing and midwifery at the university level, and is certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives. Our nurse-midwives hold graduate or doctoral degrees. Nurse-midwifery practice is the independent management of women’s health care, focusing on pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and family planning and gynecological needs of women throughout the lifespan. Certified nurse midwives are able to consult and refer patients to other health care providers as needed.

What is the philosophy of midwifery care?

Nurse-midwives believe that every individual has the right to safe, satisfying care with respect for human dignity and cultural variations. We support each person’s right to self-determination, to complete information and to active participation in their health care. CNMs believe the normal processes of pregnancy and birth can be enhanced through education, health care and supportive intervention. Clients and their families are partners with the nurse-midwife in the provision of health care. We believe that medical intervention should be used only when necessary, and that each woman should be treated in a holistic manner as an individual.

What is the model of midwifery care?

We believe that we need to get to know you in order to provide the appropriate care you deserve. We allow ample time at every visit to allow for conversation and questions. Your family members and children are welcome at all times as you wish. Health promotion and education are the mainstays of midwifery care, so we encourage you to read, ask questions and become involved in your care, whether for childbirth or gynecology. We may refer you to a physical therapist, acupuncture, a chiropractor, or a surgeon as indicated by your health needs. We are able to prescribe medications for you, but will have you see your primary care physician or nurse practitioner for your routine prescriptions for high blood pressure and other medical problems.

Are you accepting new patients?

Yes, we are accepting new patients for both pregnancy and general women’s health care.

Where are you located?

We are just behind the Plaza Hotel in the same area as the Old Town Post Office, the Bank of Las Vegas, and Drs. Miller and Gallegos. We are in the blue building at the east end of the parking lot (this was formerly Dr. Zapf’s office).

I just found out that I am pregnant. What should I do?

Call to make an appointment for a new OB visit. We get new OB patients in within a day or two. Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and try to eat small frequent meals to avoid nausea. Also avoid greasy foods. Try to increase your water intake to 2 to 3 quarts of water a day.

Does health insurance cover my visits at Alumbra?

We are providers for Medicaid, Medicare, Salud!, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Presbyterian, United Health, Lovelace, and many other small insurance companies. Please call the office to inquire if you have questions about a specific plan.

What is the difference between care by a physician and care by a midwife?

Physicians are trained in both medicine and surgery to care for disease processes. Nurse-midwives are educated to recognize pregnancy and childbirth as natural, health processes, and are specialists in this field. We support and protect the natural progression of pregnancy, labor and birth. Midwives believe a woman has the right to give birth in a personalized, positive manner. We believe that unless medically necessary, interventions should be kept to a minimum. Time is allowed at office visits for education, conversation and questions.

Will I see a physician during my pregnancy?

Certified nurse-midwives are independent practitioners of women’s health care. While more than 80% of women will need no medical intervention during their pregnancy, occasionally complications arise, or prenatal testing shows abnormal results. Many of these abnormal results are false positives. However, to determine if there is actually a problem or not, we will refer you for a consultation with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. If a problem arises during labor, we will consult with the physician on-call on the hospital. In the event a cesarean section in needed, the on-call physician will perform this, with the midwife as assistant.

What are options for pain relief during labor?

We support women’s choices in childbirth. Many of our patients opt for a natural birth, and will spend time laboring in the Jacuzzi, on the birthing ball, or standing, rocking and walking. Other patients will ask for pain medication through an IV. A few of our patients request epidurals. It is up to the patient to decide which options are right for her.

Do the midwives at Alumbra attend water births?

No, we are not able to plan water delivery due to the set up of the tubs in our labor rooms, but we do encourage laboring in water. Most women will stay in the tub until ready to deliver, then get out and use the squatting bar to give birth. Occasionally, babies just come in the tub; if that happens, we catch the baby and then help the mom back to bed.

What if I have had a c-section?

Due to the policies at Alta Vista Community Hospital, we are not able to attend VBACs at this time. However, we fully support a woman’s right to birth in the way she wishes. If you would like a VBAC, we will see you for prenatal care and later in your pregnancy arrange for you to see one of our colleagues in Albuquerque at facilities with high rates of VBAC success. You would then deliver in Albuquerque. If you opt for a repeat c-section, we will be present to assist in the surgery here at the hospital. We will have you meet the surgeon a month before you are due.

Can I still come to Alumbra for care after my baby is born?

Of course! We provide your postpartum care, as well as birth control options, annual pap exams, diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections, bleeding irregularities, menopausal care…. We are now delivering babies for daughters of women we have delivered many years ago, while the mothers continue to come to us for their women’s health needs.