This week, we're celebrating certified midwives and all they do for women's health and the profession of obstetrics and gynecology.

As a young ob/gyn, I was trained by Certified Nurse-Midwives who taught me a lot about natural childbirth, about compassion, and who nurtured that intimate connection I feel when I deliver a baby and place him or her in the arms of their mother for the first time.

Today, there are more than 7,000 Certified Nurse-Midwives in the United States who attend approximately 200,000 births a year. These men and women play a growing role in providing women's health services to women of all ages - not just pregnant women. Midwives are also advocates of vaginal birth - a valuable service considering more than 30 percent of babies born in the U.S. are delivered via C-section.

Certified Midwives offer a variety of services like:

--Prenatal Care;

--Labor and delivery;

--Postpartum care;

--Breastfeeding support;

--Annual exam;

--Breast exam;

--Pap Smear;

--HPV testing and vaccination;

--Family planning;

--STD screening and treatment;

--Infertility treatment;

--Perimenopausal and postmenopausal care.

American women can always benefit from having a Certified Nurse-Midwife around, and in this week of recognition, I would like to congratulate them for all they do to improve health care for women in this country.