Beaufort Memorial’s Living Well Blog brings health and wellness to Lowcountry living.

Beaufort Mom Savors Midwife Experience

Posted by Women's Health Team on Jan 13, 2016 5:27:10 PM

Expecting mother Jennifer Harpham sought a low-intervention, midwife-assisted childbirth for her second child. She found it at Beaufort Memorial.

Expectant mom Jennifer Harpham was weeks from giving birth when she met the newest member of Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists. But, the practitioner across from her in the white coat wasn’t a physician; Janna Jones Kersh is a certified nurse-midwife.

“I always wanted to go to a midwife,” says Harpham, a 30-year-old Bluffton resident. “My husband is a chiropractor and we both believe in a natural approach to wellness.”

The couple’s first child, now 2 years old, was delivered by an OB-GYN in Charlotte, where they lived before moving to the Lowcountry. Since they wanted to have their second baby in a hospital as well, they thought an MD delivery was their only option.

When Jones Kersh joined the practice, she began delivering babies alongside Drs. Christopher Benson, Gregory Miller and Marlena Mattingly.

Educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, Jones Kersh provides gynecologic and primary care, including contraceptive counseling, family planning and gynecologic exams, as well as delivering babies. “Most women choose to give birth in a hospital,” she says. “I wanted to bring the practice of midwifery into that setting.”

    Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge had a midwife-led birth in April 2015.

“Nurse-midwives take a holistic approach to the birthing process, intervening only when necessary,” Jones Kersh explains. “But if a woman decides she wants to have an epidural, I can order it for her just like an OB-GYN.”

 It took Harpham just 15 minutes of pushing before giving birth to 8-pound Eloise Faye.

“The delivery was so smooth, I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “Janna was great. She was very positive and encouraging during the whole thing. I felt totally comfortable with her.”

While only 8 percent of U.S. births are attended by midwives, the practice is much more common in other countries. “It’s the standard of care in the U.K.,” Jones Kersh says. “Kate Middleton’s baby girl was delivered by midwives.”

Jones Kersh is a specialist in uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy and childbirth. If a complication arises during pregnancy or delivery, a staff physician can assist at a moment’s notice.

Having Jones Kersh part of daughter Eloise’s birth was a huge positive for Harpham. Jones Kersh echoes the positivity of the experience for expecting mothers who are interested in learning more about the nurse-midwifery option.

“Despite what you see on TV, having a baby is not a medical emergency,” Jones Kersh says. “It’s a normal physiological process.”

To schedule an appointment with certified nurse-midwife Janna Jones Kersh, call Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists at 843-522-7820.iStock_000016848017_Medium-985714-edited.jpg

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