Kelsey Gilley, CNM

I recently got to photograph a birth with Kelsey Gilley delivering. Having heard such great things about her from her patients, I knew I needed to interview her and learn more about who she is and what she offers women in Northwest Arkansas. I am so excited to be able to share with you more about her work. Thank you Kelsey for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing moms in NWA a glimpse into your heart for women and babies.

Kelsey is an Arkansas native, graduated from Rogers High School, and attended undergrad at UCA. She met her husband in 2013 and they got married in the following year. They now have two wonderful boys, ages 2.5 and 4 months; Asher and Ephraim. Kelsey works at Northwest Medical Center. You can find her contact information here.

How long have you been a certified nurse-midwife? Why did you choose this career?

I finished my Masters in Nursing program as a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2016. While in nursing school I learned of the existence of midwifery. I knew instantly that midwifery was for me because I wanted to offer women something different than what most women receive when it comes to their health care. I wanted to be able to educate and empower women to make decisions on their health that were personal and informed. What is good for one women may not be the best for another. Women's plans for their pregnancy and birth are the prime example of this. Some women want completely natural birth with no pain medication, while others desires a scheduled induction of labor with an epidural. As a midwife in a hospital setting I have the expertise and facilities available to offer women options when it comes to their care.

What are the benefits of having a midwife?

What midwifery care has to offer is a unique blend of natural techniques and remedies coupled with the ability to utilize modern medicine when needed or desired. As a Board Certified Nurse Midwife I am a Nurse Practitioner. This means patients get the best and most evidence based care whether they desire completely natural remedies or modern medicine. I have the training and expertise to meet their women’s health, pregnancy, and labor/delivery needs.

What are some common misconceptions about midwifery and how would you address those?

The biggest misconception about CNMs is that we only deliver babies. That is only half of my educational training. We also care for non-pregnant women across the lifespan. We routinely see women for their annual well-women check ups, breast exams, pap smears, UTIs, contraception needs, Long term birth control placements (like IUDs), hormone replacement therapy, and so much more.

The second biggest misconception is that I do home births. I do not do home births. I am able to provide women a very home-like environment in our low-intervention birthing suite complete with a queen size bed, luxurious labor tub, aromatherapy, TENS units, and even nitrous oxide, all while in the hospital setting for those rare, yet very real, moments when emergent medical intervention is need.

Third, CNMs are not doulas. Doulas are wonderful birth support professionals. They do not provide medical advice, but are there to be your one-on-one support and offer care suggestions to facilitate the kind of birth you desire. As a CNM I am responsible for the health and well-being of mom and baby. I am the one advising and caring for the woman medically. That being said I encourage every single one of my patients to hire a doula if they are able.

What are your core beliefs about labor and delivery as a midwife?

Pregnancy is a natural phenomenon; A wonderful miracle no matter how many times you witness it. That being said each pregnancy is not without some level of risk. My job as a women's provider is to educate and inform women on how to remain low-risk holistically. If the pregnancy progresses without any complications then the best route for women is almost always the least amount of intervention possible. This can be utilized by intermittent auscultation during labor, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and simple position changes throughout the labor. If a woman attends childbirth and coping classes then she and her partner are set up for success in achieving a low-intervention birth.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is when I hear from women "My birth was everything I hoped it would be" or even better, "I didn't know I could do it, but I did." Supporting and encouraging women to reach their goals and have a healthy mom and baby are the greatest joys to me.