Midwife | February Mother to Mother

Feb 6, 2023 | Mother to Mother, New Parent Blog, The First Year Blog

Midwife | February Mother to Mother

Welcome everyone to Mother to Mother, where every month we talk to another mother who is a professional in one field related to motherhood. In February Mother to Mother we get to talk to the amazing Ilana Eastman who is a midwife working GW’s hospital in Washington, DC.

February Mother to Mother

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ilana, and I am a Certified Nurse-Midwife. I live in Silver Spring with my husband and 2 girls (3 and 5.5). I work at an academic practice and teaching hospital in DC.
What made you decide to go into midwifery in the first place?
I always knew I wanted to go into healthcare, and decided to start nursing school about halfway through college. At that point I thought I would like women’s health, but my clinical OB rotation was just terrible! The advice from my nursing school was to do general medicine right out of school, so I did that for a year and absolutely hated it. I switched to L&D as soon as possible and fell in love.
What kinds of benefits do moms see if they choose to go to a midwife over an OBGYN?
I try really hard not to fall into the midwives vs OBs narrative. We are both professionals that complement each other’s skill sets and strengths. People who choose midwives are usually looking for a more natural or hands off approach. Midwives work in hospitals, birth centers, and at home so if someone is looking for out-of-hospital care they will usually find a midwife. A lot of times people will also come to us if they are trying to give birth without an epidural or are interested in something like waterbirth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get pain medicine with a midwife! I had one unmedicated birth and one epidural birth, both through my practice!
What’s your favorite part of  what you do?
 I really love it all! I love working with someone from before they are even pregnant all the way through their postpartum care. The continuity is really special and something that many other fields of medicine don’t have. It is so amazing to watch as a person transforms during labor and then into becoming a parent.
What’s the craziest part about your job?
Absolutely all the positions I contort myself into while supporting people in labor! When someone is laboring without an epidural I will do anything necessary to keep them comfortable, so I am often squatting or on my knees right beside them.
If you could impart one piece of wisdom to new or expectant moms, what would it be?
If you’ll indulge me, I’ll leave you with two:
1- think carefully about who you want with you in labor. If you don’t trust your provider during pregnancy, you won’t feel safe with them in labor. But also, don’t feel like you need to make space for your brother’s sister’s neighbor in the labor room just because they ask to be there. People in the room with you should be there to support you and not just observe. PLUS hire a doula! Doula’s are not just for people planning unmedicated births–they are evidence based to improve outcomes and satisfaction. How you feel during labor impacts how you feel as a parent.
2- As much time/money as you spend preparing for your birth, you should spend double preparing for postpartum. Take an infant care class, have a consultation with an infant feeding specialist or lactation consultant. Prepare for people to come help you out with baby. Join a new parents support group. Your labor and birth will be just a few days, but that initial postpartum phase is the foundation for your experience as a parent.

Wow! Thank you Ilana for sharing your wisdom in our February Mother to Mother blog post! I know I certainly learned a lot, and I’m hoping some of you lovely readers do as well. I’m so happy that I get to feature incredible woman in this new series. If you enjoyed the February Mother to Mother, let me know! Also make sure to check out last months feature as well! If you or someone you know is looking for a midwife in the DMV feel free to reach out to Ilana using the following links:


Did you miss Last months feature? Check it out here: January Mother to Mother

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