Women's Health and Nurse - Midwifery

At Ascension Wisconsin, our certified nurse-midwives provide individualized, compassionate, and evidence-based care to women and their families.

Ascension Wisconsin Midwifery Services

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare professionals with expertise in providing care to women during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery period.

In addition to providing care during pregnancy and childbirth, certified nurse-midwives are also primary healthcare providers to women throughout their lifespan. This care includes, but is not limited to, gynecology, annual exams, and well-woman care.

Why a nurse-midwife?

We recommend certified nurse-midwives for a variety of healthcare reasons, including:

  • Personalized, holistic healthcare – Health focus is on emotional, mental and physical well-being
  • Care is woman and family-centered
  • Women have an increased sense of control and satisfaction
  • Significant focus on prenatal and birth education
  • Provide healthcare across the lifespan

Working with a certified nurse-midwife provides positive healthcare outcomes, including:

  • Lower rates of cesarean births
  • Lower use of epidural anesthesia (though epidurals are an option)
  • Lower rates of premature births
  • Higher rates of vaginal deliveries after a cesarean (VBAC)
  • Higher rates of breast-feeding

Midwifery - Fact vs Fiction

Myth: Midwives only provide care during pregnancy and childbirth.

Fact: In addition to providing care during pregnancy and childbirth, certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are also primary healthcare providers to women throughout their lifespan. This care includes, but is not limited to, gynecologic issues, annual exams, and well-woman care.

Myth: Midwives only attend births at home.

Fact: CNMs work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, medical offices, clinics, birth centers, as well as homes. At Ascension Wisconsin, we offer the freedom and flexibility of midwifery care with the safety and security of a hospital birth.

Myth: I can’t get an epidural or have pain medication if I see a midwife.

Fact: Nurse midwives can prescribe pain medication and patients still have access to all the resources that the hospital offers, including anesthesia as needed. Your midwife will work with you to develop a personalized birth plan that is right for you. Midwifery patients often utilize other pain management methods, such as birthing balls, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy and more to help cope with labor pain.

Myth: My baby and I won’t be as safe with a midwife as I would with a doctor.

Fact: A CNM is an independent health care provider who first trained as a registered nurse and then continued education to earn a Master of Science in Nursing specializing in midwifery. If a high-risk situation arises, a midwife will consult with a doctor.

Myth: I’m too high risk to see a midwife.

Fact: Midwives do spend more time studying what is normal during pregnancy and birth. However, CNMs are trained to manage common complications that occur and collaborate with doctors when needed. Schedule an appointment with one of our midwives to discuss if midwifery care is a safe option for you.

What do we offer?

A wide range of pain management options are available during labor, including epidurals. If you are healthy and have no risk factors, we often utilize and encourage movement in labor, including walking, frequent position changes, and the use of the following:

  • Birthing ball
  • Squat bar
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Water birth*

*Check your hospital location for availability.

Our Locations

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee - Prospect Medical Commons
Choose a midwife:
 •  Shauna Leinbach, CNM (Outpatient only)
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-319-3000

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee - Gateway
Choose a midwife:
 •  Shauna Leinbach, CNM (Outpatient only)
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-773-6600

Ascension Medical Group - Third Ward
Choose a midwife:
 •  Shauna Leinbach, CNM (Outpatient only)
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-777-3060

Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - St. Joseph Campus
Midwifery Clinic
Choose a midwife:
 •  Gretchen McCool, CNM
 •  Shannan Cantu Santoli, CNM
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-874-4700

Women's Outpatient Center
Choose a midwife:
 •  Kathryn Aispuro, MSN, CNM (Outpatient only)
 •  Ashley Elkins, MSN, CNM (Outpatient only)
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-447-2275

Ascension Medical Group - St. Francis Ohio Building
Choose a midwife:
 •  Carlos Valenzuela, CNM
Call to schedule an appointment: 414-389-2780

Ascension Medical Group - Franklin Medical Office building
Choose a midwife:
 •   Alyssa Redman, CNM, WHNP, MS
Call to schedule an appointment:  414-325-4910

Ascension NE Wisconsin Hospital - Mercy Campus
Choose a midwife:
 •  Stefanie Hernet, CNM
 •  Kelly O'Connor, CNM
 •  Jennifer Taubel, CNM
 •  Deborah Zelhofer, CNM
Call to schedule an appointment: 920-223-0220