Shelby Szych, a certified nurse midwife with Mercy Health – Sylvania Obstetrics and Gynecology, is what you might call an early bloomer. By age 20 she had already earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Though she initially worked in an emergency department, she always knew that helping mothers was especially important to her.
“Subconsciously, I think it was always going to be midwifery,” she says.
Now a certified nurse midwife, Shelby Szych cares for women throughout their lifespan. She currently works with six other midwives. All of the midwives meet and share care for every patient — especially women who are expecting. That way, no matter who is on call when a patient goes into labor, the mother will see a familiar face.
“We feel strongly about being there for women during their labor,” she says.
In addition to midwives, Mercy Health – Sylvania Obstetrics and Gynecology includes other nurses and medical assistants, as well as physicians.
“I work with a wonderful team,” Shelby says.
What is a certified nurse midwife?
Certified nurse midwives go through more training and education than registered nurses. They must earn a master’s or doctoral degree and pass a national qualifying exam in order to practice.
“I work hand-in-hand with physicians. We practice under the same standards of care,” Shelby explains.
She is never offended if a woman prefers not to see a midwife, especially given there are definitely times when a patient needs a physician. For example, surgical consultations are outside of Shelby’s scope of practice.
“I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable,” she emphasizes. However, as a midwife, she does offer expectant mothers a very supportive birth experience.
“I just want them to have the experience they desire,” she says. This can mean an epidural, acupressure, massage or just sitting in the room with her patient during labor.
Shelby is often asked if she does home births. There are many types of midwives who practice in different settings, including in the home. However, as a certified professional nurse midwife, she helps deliver babies exclusively in a hospital.
More than babies
When Shelby is on call, she might be in the hospital overnight to help deliver a baby. But she typically spends much of her time in the office.
She sees women from puberty through their childbearing years, pre-menopause, menopause and beyond. She even sees women who might be celebrating the births of their great-grandchildren.
“I want families to know that we can help you throughout your life, not just during childbearing years,” says Shelby.
Learn more about the maternity care services available at Mercy Health.