Since she was young, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumnus Kari Reimann, CNM, has always been fascinated with the science of conception, pregnancy, and birth. Now, she is using that passion to fill a significant need in the St. Louis, Mo., birthing community.
While the area has many options for home births and birth center births with a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), few options are available for women seeking an in-hospital delivery with a CNM. Reimann is looking to change that, as the first nurse-midwife in the area providing care for planned hospital births with 24/7 CNM coverage.
In June 2021, Reimann became a member of the BJC Medical Group, a well-established, multi-specialty provider group with over 100 locations in greater St. Louis, mid-Missouri, and Southern Illinois. Reimann’s practice is located in a county just south of St. Louis that is currently underserved by medical professionals, particularly those providing OB services. She has a second office in Festus, a rural town 40 minutes south of St. Louis. Through her work, Reimann is helping fulfill part of FNU’s mission to “prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical, and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural, and underserved populations.”
In addition, Reimann is the only full-scope CNM with delivery privileges at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. Her new position enables her to serve women seeking whole-person, time-intensive midwifery care who may not meet low-risk criteria for an out-of-hospital birth or simply prefer the hospital setting.
“We have an excellent out-of-hospital, free-standing birth center and an in-hospital birth center in St. Louis,” said Reimann. “Now, we can provide quality midwifery care for some higher-risk patients who are planning a hospital birth.”
By working with a collaborating physician, Reimann is able to support women facing special cases such as TOLACs (trial of labor after cesarean) and TOLAC2s (trial of labor after two caesareans). A TOLAC is an attempted vaginal birth in a patient who has had a previous Cesarean section. Frontier recognizes that it is provider collaboration like Reimann is implementing that will create effective change in the health care system and ultimately lower maternal mortality rates.
Improving maternal health, specifically maternal mortality, is an urgent task set before women’s health care providers. As cited by the National Vital Statistics System, the 2018 maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 births – meaning 658 women died either during pregnancy, at birth, or within 42 days of birth.
With Reimann’s support and her collaborative structure, women who may be labeled “high risk” are able to still safely deliver under the care of a CNM. Her patients range from women whose hopes for home birth were prevented by medical risks, to women simply preferring a hospital setting. Whether her patients are hoping for a natural birth or plan to use an epidural, Reimann seeks to be a partner in the journey, which is an important aspect of nurse-midwifery care.
When it comes to delivering quality care, Reimann says her primary motivators are the shared decision-making model and allowing her patients to make an informed choice.
“As a woman who has been a patient in the general healthcare setting, I know what it is to leave the office visit feeling like I was rushed and didn’t get my questions answered,” Reimann said. “That’s why I try to make sure women feel informed and good about their plan when they’re leaving my practice.”
Her practice’s scheduling system reflects this, giving new patients 60-minute appointment slots while returning patients have 30 minutes to ensure plenty of time for questions and full participation in shared decision-making.
Reimann, who graduated in 2018, credits Frontier for much of her critical thinking skills.
“I encounter new medications or conditions often, but because I was equipped to read the research well, I’m able to go seek those articles and educate myself on an ongoing basis,” she said.
Her expertise and education enable her to better share in the joys and hardships women and families experience during the pregnancy and labor/birth journey.
“It is an honor and privilege to be a part of such an impactful time in people’s lives,” said Reimann. “I want to promote confidence in women that pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are most often normal healthy processes in a woman’s life. I approach their care through that lens though always careful to ensure that things stay healthy and low risk.”
Thank you for your dedication to serving women and families, Kari. We are proud to have you represent Frontier!
Are you interested in becoming a certified nurse-midwife? Frontier Nursing University offers a graduate Nurse-Midwifery specialty track that can be pursued full- or part-time while completing a Master of Science in Nursing or a Post-Graduate Certificate. After earning an MSN or certificate, you have the option to transition to the Companion Doctor of Nursing Practice program via a direct admission process. Learn more here.