Published on August 10, 2022

MaineGeneral Midwifery Services: Providing expert obstetric care and so much more!

When it comes to helping pregnant mothers bring their babies into the world, Susan Lufkin-Curtis is no novice. Far from it.

Susan Lufkin-Curtis, CNM, MaineGeneral Midwifery ServicesLufkin-Curtis, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) and family nurse practitioner at MaineGeneral Midwifery Services in Augusta, has been present at perhaps thousands of births during a two-decades-plus career, beginning as a labor and delivery nurse for 13 years at the start of her career and then as a nurse-midwife for the past 11.

In fact, while working in Maryland for three years at a very busy family medicine practice before her eventual return to Maine, she delivered about 100 babies per year. While the collective volume is impressive, she considers each birth unique and special in terms of the relationships she fosters with parents and their newborns.

“It truly is an amazing experience. I may not always remember the specifics of a particular birth but the patient does; she remembers every little thing,” she said. “It’s funny but I took care of my son’s girlfriend when she was a newborn, in fact, and she tells me all the time how her mom still talks about me and remembers how I pushed on her back for hours while she was in labor.”

Comprehensive, experienced obstetric care

Lufkin-Curtis joined MaineGeneral Midwifery Services in May 2022, adding to a highly experienced and skilled team that includes fellow nurse-midwives Leah Mawhinney, who also started in May, Julie Lundman and Rachel Zaccaria, who have been with the practice since 2019, and Michelle Tocher, who followed them in 2020.

The expert obstetrical care provided by the nurse-midwives is only one example of the comprehensive array of outstanding options that exist within the MaineGeneral system. These include the clinicians of MaineGeneral OB/GYN, which is co-located with the midwifery practice at MaineGeneral’s Alfond Center for Health (ACH), medical staff at MaineGeneral’s family medicine practices and private-practice ob/gyns who provide obstretric and labor and delivery care at the ACH.

Rachel Zaccaria, CNM, MaineGeneral Midwifery ServicesZaccaria, who serves as assistant medical director for the midwifery practice, said her group’s approach to patient care is to “match our expertise to the expertise of the birthing person, because they know their body, their needs and what’s important to them. This forms a good team that serves as the basis for everything we do.”

One of the tenets of midwifery is the sharing of evidence-based information to help patients make the best decisions about their care.

“We want them to have the best patient experience possible,” Lufkin-Curtis said. “My highest priority is to help patients make informed choices by giving them the information they need and help them direct their path versus me deciding what I think they should do.”

“We help patients pick the options that work best for them and their families,” Zaccaria added. “Many of our patients come to us because they do or do not want to do certain things, they want someone who will go over all the risks and benefits with them, listen to them and support them in whatever decision they choose.”

Zaccaria noted that a similar partnership that she and her fellow nurse-midwives have with their patients exists with their colleagues at MaineGeneral OB/GYN.

“We have an amazing physician team that works with us, backs us up and provides consults because midwifery has an expertise in normal, so when people have risk factors that are outside of the general range of normal, we have them consult with our physicians or help transfer them to another team we also trust,” she said. It’s very nice to be able to provide this to patients.”

Inspired by their patients

The passion they bring to their daily work, Zaccaria and Lufkin-Curtis say, is fueled by the patients with whom they are fortunate to interact and care for.

“I love helping people find their power and feel comfortable in making life decisions,” Zaccaria said. “I love sharing information with them about what’s normal for their bodies and what they should do when they have problems. For births specifically, it’s inspiring to support people in birthing their baby and having a pregnancy that feels good for them.”

“It so rewarding to help another person, in whatever capacity, and know how deeply they feel about you,” Lufkin-Curtis added. “Patients will welcome you into their family, in the span of a 12-hour shift, if you’re with them during their delivery. They’re always so appreciative and thankful you’re there to support them, and they’ll talk about it for years afterward.”

Obstetric care is only one aspect of the comprehensive array of women’s health care that MaineGeneral Midwifery Services provides. To learn more, visit www.mainegeneral.org/midwifery.